Republican National Convention Day 3: September 3, 2008

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH: REPUBLICAN CONVENTION COVERAGE

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

The Palin family and Senator John McCain on stage at the Republican National Convention. (Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

Day 3 Schedule

John McCain greeted by Sarah Palin as he arrived for the GOP Convention. (WaPo)

John McCain greeted by Sarah Palin as he arrived for the GOP Convention. (WaPo)

    WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2008

    The 2008 Republican National Convention today announced the full program of events for Wednesday, Sept. 3. The evening’s program will feature remarks by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican Party’s nominee for vice president. Among the other speakers participating in this evening’s program are former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. The speakers remarks will reflect the convention’s overall theme, “Country First,” and the theme for Wednesday’s events, which is “reform.”

    TONIGHT’S SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

    U.S. Sen. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Speaker: U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.), Meg Whitman, former President and CEO of EBay, Carly Fiorina, former Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, GOPAC Chairman Michael Steel, Speaker: Former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.), Speaker: Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.), Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (N.Y.), Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin – GOP Convention 2008

Sarah Palin accepting the Republican Partys nomination for Vice President (CNN)

Sarah Palin accepting the Republican Party's nomination for Vice President (CNN)

Highlights:

  • September 3, 2008: Palin takes slap at Obama, casts herself as Washington outsider in convention speech … McCain shares hugs with Palin family upon his arrival in Twin Cities … GOP also-rans speak at national convention …. Obama claims McCain trying to run from Republican Party’s bad economic record … Democratic ‘war room’ finds its stride after tentative start. AP, 9-3-08 …Palin prepares to speak to delegates, other Americans amid political and personal revelations … Giuliani says Sarah Palin is ready to handle Sept. 11 crisis … Late-night TV hosts tread lightly with Palin pregnancy; use it to go after John Edwards. – AP, 9-3-08

Stats & In the News…

  • Poll gives Obama edge in two of three key states – CNN 9-3-08
  • September 3, 2008: Gallop Poll: Democrat Barack Obama has a 6-percentage-point lead over Republican John McCain — he has 49 percent to McCain’s 43 percent — among registered voters in the presidential race. – AP, 9-3-08
  • UPDATE 2-FACTBOX-Quotes from the U.S. Republican convention – Reuters, 9-3-08
  • Palin Defies Critics and Electrifies Party – NYT, 9-4-08
  • Palin touts small-town roots, rips Obama – Reuters, 9-4-08
  • Palin Introduces Herself and Takes On Obama in Convention Speech With her address to the GOP faithful she has become the unexpected star of the Republican Party – US News, 9-3-08
  • Sarah Palin Owns the Hall, But What About the Country? – The Nation, 9-3-08
  • Palin mocks Obama; McCain claims nomination – AP, 9-3-08
  • Palin casts herself as Washington outsider – AP, 9-3-08
  • McCain takes spotlight – with Palin family – AP, 9-3-08
The Republican Ticket, John McCain and Sarah Palin (CNN)

The Republican Ticket, John McCain and Sarah Palin (CNN)

Historians’ Comments

  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, this was a beat-up-on-Barack night, which is exactly what you expect from a keynoter. I thought Mayor Giuliani performed his role to the delight of everyone in the crowd. And it turned out he only warmed them up. There’s no doubt movements conservatives have themselves a new heroine, as of this evening. This will be a huge hit among Rush Limbaugh Republicans. It will be fascinating — I’d be interested to hear from Andy — it’d be fascinating to know if this plays as well among particularly independent voters out there who are watching this convention to find out not only what this party is against — and we heard a lot about that tonight — but what they’re for, particularly in the realm of the economy. And one final thing, I do wonder whether “drill, baby, drill” will take its place in the lexicon alongside “I like Ike.” – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, I think it happened, Richard. One note on political theater. You’ll note that, when John McCain came on stage — this is a first in history — a presidential candidate and a vice presidential candidate hugged in public. 1984, when Walter Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro, they and their handlers decided that the American people couldn’t take the sight of these candidates hugging. So all through the campaign, they very carefully sort of held hands, held hands in the air, nothing more than that until after they lost. And Geraldine Ferraro said, “Can I finally hug you?” She did, indeed. I think the one thing as far as the speech — speech was fine, well-delivered, loved in the hall. But this is a woman that Americans know extremely little about, especially for a national nominee. And this speech didn’t tell us really very much beyond what we knew already, and that’s going to make it even more important in the future when she gives speeches that are more impromptu and when she submits to interrogations by reporters and average American citizens. – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University on “Historians Mull Strengths of Sarah Palin’s Speech”: Well, a really strong speech designed to appeal to white women voters. When we control for race and we think about the gender gap, in 2000, Al Gore received 48 percent of white female votes. In 2004, it was down to 44 percent. So, really, the overwhelming number of African-American women voters and Hispanic voters that provides Democrats with that edge. And this speech was designed to really appeal to those voters. She called herself a hockey mom. And that really translates to the Midwest when we think about suburban soccer moms….Well, she exceeded expectations. People really — building on what Michael said — didn’t know what to expect, a lot of rumors, a lot of controversy about the surprise pick. She exceeded expectations. She’s poised. She’s calm. She’s cool and collected. She looked ready for primetime tonight. – PBS Newhour, 9-3-08 Download
  • Gil Troy “Palin: The Kindest, Gentlest Cultural Warrior Since Reagan”: …Palin drew a line between those who serve in the army – and those who don’t, between those who live in the bicoastal bubble – and those who live in what she made clear was the real America. To appreciate her performance at its best, remember the angry harsh attacks Marilyn Quayle and Pat Buchanan launched in 1992. Palin was equally sharp but far less shrill. Lines about a candidate who has authored two memoirs about his life but authored no major law, about a small town mayor being like a community organizer – but with responsibility were zingers aimed directly at Barack Obama, delivered with a smile. In her ability to plunge the stiletto so deftly, and so delightfully, Sarah Palin channeled the great hero of depressed Republicans, Ronald Reagan…. – HNN, 9-3-08
  • Alan Brinkley: “Does McCain Need Independent and Moderate Voters?”: I guess the Democrats can’t count on Sarah Palin to torpedo McCain’s candidacy. If there is a danger, it is that her speech will overshadow his. After the really dreary and depressing session of yesterday, tonight was very successful, with two good speeches–the other by Giuliani. And I think they made the case that the Republican faithful wanted to hear, and they beat up on Obama in ways that will resonate with the GOP.
    But what I think this convention is really trying to do is to change the subject. Most Americans, it’s clear, think this election is about the economy. In all the many speeches of this week in St. Paul, virtually none of them have had much to say about the really serious economic problems that are affecting the very Americans that the GOP has tried to enlist–middle class and lower middle class families. Instead, they are falling back on old favorites–the mess in Washington (and who has made that over the last eight years?), the political establishment (likewise), and of course the reliable whipping boy–the liberal media. This convention did not, I think, set up McCain to reach out to the independents and moderates he will need to get elected. Instead, he seems on course to try to turn out the right-wing evangelical vote in the way Bush did in 2004. But he will have a much harder time bringing out the vast number of evangelicals that Bush attracted. It will be very interesting tomorrow night to see whether McCain’s speech veers away at all from the reliably conservative message of the first few days of the convention and returns to the more centrist image he was trying to project over the summer. – The New Republic, 9-3-08
  • Richard Norton Smith, Michael Beschloss: For McCain, 6 keys to victory in November – USA Today, 9-4-08
  • John Baick on “‘Small-town’ Palin stands tall”: “Far more attention is being paid to the vice presidential nominee than to McCain,” said John Baick, associate professor of history at Western New England College in Springfield, Mass. To appeal to independent voters, but still keep conservatives happy, McCain likely will use “key words” that resonate with both groups in different ways, Baick said. “Like ‘character,’ ” Baick said. “When they hear ‘character’ from her, that means someone who will support pro-life causes and creationism. When he says ‘character,’ that means he will take the fight to the enemy and never stop. They’ll use some of the same talking points.” – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 9-3-08
  • Stephen Haycox on “The Unusual Challenges of Governing Alaska”: “Alaska really is a colonial place,” said Stephen Haycox, a professor of history at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. “One third of the economic base is oil; another third is federal spending. The economy is extremely narrow and highly dependent. It’s not to say that Alaska is a beggar state, but it certainly is true that Alaska is dependent on decisions made outside it, and over which Alaskans don’t have great control.” – NYT, 9-4-08
  • Peniel Joseph, Richard Norton Smith: Forty Years Later, Nixon Convention Speech Remains Watershed Event – PBS Newshour, 9-3-08
  • Richard Norton Smith on “Forty Years Later, Nixon Convention Speech Remains Watershed Event”: For Norton Smith, the speech outlines a bold new foreign policy of engagement and a noticeably conservative domestic agenda.
    “He wanted to bring about a political realignment, a post-New Deal, broadly conservative party,” Norton Smith told the Online NewsHour. “Nixon appeals to old blue-collar workers, social conservatives who had been part of the New Deal coalition and people who are open to changing their votes, if not necessarily their party registration because they’re not necessary happy with the social upheavals going on around them.” – PBS Newshour, 9-3-08
  • Peniel Joseph on “Forty Years Later, Nixon Convention Speech Remains Watershed Event”: Joseph, on the other hand, sees the Nixon speech as a successful effort to rally the “silent majority” around conservative values through carefully chosen, but still loaded, “code words.”
    “What Nixon’s doing, he’s really providing language, and eloquent articulation of the way in which suburban whites are feeling as early as the early 1960s… Nixon is trying to appeal to suburban warriors who feel that blacks are encroaching in on their dream.” – PBS Newshour, 9-3-08
  • Beverly Gage on “Sarah Palin” Interview with NPR’s On the Point with Tom Ashbrook – NPR, 9-3-08
  • Julian Zelizer: Palin McCain’s Dan Quayle?: …In the past few days, Democrats have been focusing on one aspect of the 1988 campaign—Quayle’s many problems — while forgetting the overall story: Bush and Quayle won.
    Democrats could certainly point to the weaknesses and dangers in the Palin selection, but they should be cautious. If they allow Palin to distract them from their main target — McCain and his support for the unpopular economic and military policies of President George W. Bush — they might just find themselves like Dukakis and Bensten in 1988, on the losing end. – Washington Independent, 9-3-08
  • Steve Russell on “Republican convention off to slow start”: For Northern Essex Community College assistant professor of history Steve Russell, the choice was a risk at best. “I think McCain is doing pretty well considering Bush is not popular. He conveys he knows what he is doing and can take the reins,” Russell said. “But I think Palin is an incredibe risk. I don’t see how it could possibly help him.” – Newbury Port News, 9-3-08
  • Historians Offer Insight on RNC’s Day Two: historians Michael Beschloss and Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph examine the strengths of the night’s speeches and the rally for the GOP party in St. Paul. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Well, it’s interesting. I think Judy’s right. This crowd goes out tonight feeling probably a lot better than they did even coming in this evening. I was struck by the extent to which this night was about John McCain’s personal story. And as we all know, it is a very powerful story. But it’s interesting. Here we are, two months before the campaign, and you have — before the election, and you have the feeling this is still a candidacy driven very much by biography. And I suspect what a lot of people are eager to hear over the next two nights is a lot more about what a McCain presidency would actually mean, whether it’s the economy, or health care, or a host of other issues. One other thing I would just add as an asterisk, knowing some Republicans and having been around Republicans, I don’t think you can overestimate the emotional surge in this hall that arises from the sense as a result of the Sarah Palin feeding frenzy that the “media,” quote, unquote, is out to get them. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Certainly. I think that tonight, it was an extraordinary night. I think Joe Lieberman’s speech quoting George Washington, who was against parties, at least partisanship, and calling for a bipartisan participation in this next election, Democrats, independents to vote for McCain, really building on what Richard said, based on biography rather than specific public policy proposals. And I think the controversy over the Palin choice is energizing their base. And they really feel they’re trying to rally around Palin in a way that — when we think of 1972, George McGovern didn’t, and when we think of 1988, George Bush, in fact, did. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: Maybe not a lot. And as a matter of fact, you know, you were talking a moment ago, Jim, about going after the media, which never hurts to do for a speaker at any convention, maybe particularly a Republican one. And, in 1964, probably the most powerful applause line at that convention, the Republicans in San Francisco, aside from the one given by — the speech given by Barry Goldwater, Dwight Eisenhower, of all people, who people thought of as rather mild-mannered, said, “Let us particularly scorn the sensation-seeking columnists because, my friends, I can assure you these are people who couldn’t care less about the good of our party.” And there was almost an animal roar. One lady started screaming, “Down with Walter Lippman!” It really brought down the house. The other thing you were saying, Jim, about, you know, reaching across the aisle. You know, Joe Lieberman’s speech tonight, I think it probably can be fairly said, if he had been nominated for vice president this week, we probably would have heard maybe three-quarters of the words that we heard tonight. That was probably large chunks of an acceptance speech that he never got to give. The reason he never got to give it, we are told, is that John McCain wanted to choose him, but his party said you can’t reach across the aisle, you can’t nominate a Democrat who has very differing views from many of us and from John McCain. And so there was a great irony that here he is saying, “Let’s all reach across the aisle,” to a group that essentially prevented John McCain from choosing a Democrat, Lieberman, as vice president. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • Kenya Davis-Hayes on “Black political observers look to November”: “I thought the speech was charismatic and well-crafted,” said Kenya Davis-Hayes, a 28-year-old assistant professor of history at California Baptist University who is also executive treasurer of the state’s Young Republican Federation. She watched the speech on tape the weekend after it was delivered, and acknowledged that Obama’s message appeals to a large portion of the electorate that is “stressed out and clinging to the hope that things are going to get better” in these troubled times of war and recession. “His speech covered huge ground,” she added. “If he does win the next election, people will be expecting a radical shift in energy policy and job opportunities. Even with two terms, which isn’t such a long time, that would be a huge expectation to fulfill.” – LA Wave, 9-4-08

    Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska spoke at the convention in St. Paul on Wednesday.  (NYT)

    Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska spoke at the convention in St. Paul on Wednesday. (NYT)

The Speeches….

Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

Gov. Sarah Palin gave her first prime-time national speech Wednesday. (Photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens, I will be honored to accept your nomination for vice president of the United States.

I accept the call to help our nominee for president to serve and defend America. And I accept the challenge of a tough fight in this election against confident opponents at a crucial hour for our country.

And I accept the privilege of serving with a man who has come through much harder missions, and met far graver challenges, and knows how tough fights are won, the next president of the United States, John S. McCain.

It was just a year ago when all the experts in Washington counted out our nominee because he refused to hedge his commitment to the security of the country he loves.

With their usual certitude, they told us that all was lost, there was no hope for this candidate, who said that he would rather lose an election than see his country lose a war. But the pollsters…

The pollsters and the pundits, they overlooked just one thing when they wrote him off. They overlooked the caliber of the man himself, the determination, and resolve, and the sheer guts of Senator John McCain.

The voters knew better, and maybe that’s because they realized there’s a time for politics and a time for leadership, a time to campaign and a time to put our country first.

Our nominee for president is a true profile in courage, and people like that are hard to come by. He’s a man who wore the uniform of his country for 22 years and refused to break faith with those troops in Iraq who now have brought victory within sight.

And as the mother of one of those troops, that is exactly the kind of man I want as commander-in-chief….

You know, from the inside, no family ever seems typical, and that’s how it is with us. Our family has the same ups and downs as any other, the same challenges and the same joys.

Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge. And children with special needs inspire a very, very special love. To the families of special-needs…

To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message for you: For years, you’ve sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. And I pledge to you that, if we’re elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House….

My mom and dad both worked at the elementary school in our small town. And among the many things I owe them is a simple lesson that I’ve learned, that this is America, and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity.

And my parents are here tonight….

Long ago, a young farmer and a haberdasher from Missouri, he followed an unlikely path — he followed an unlikely path to the vice presidency. And a writer observed, “We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity,” and I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind when he praised Harry Truman.

I grew up with those people. They’re the ones who do some of the hardest work in America, who grow our food, and run our factories, and fight our wars. They love their country in good times and bad, and they’re always proud of America.

I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom and signed up for the PTA.

I love those hockey moms. You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick….

Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska…

… I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involved.

I guess — I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.

I might add that, in small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they’re listening and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening.

No, we tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.

Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaks during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaks during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

As for my running mate, you can be certain that wherever he goes and whoever is listening John McCain is the same man.

Well, I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And…

… I’ve learned quickly these last few days that, if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.

But — now, here’s a little newsflash. Here’s a little newsflash for those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this great country….

No one expects us all to agree on everything, but we are expected to govern with integrity, and goodwill, and clear convictions, and a servant’s heart.

And I pledge to all Americans that I will carry myself in this spirit as vice president of the United States.

This was the spirit that brought me to the governor’s office when I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau, when I stood up to the special interests, and the lobbyists, and the Big Oil companies, and the good-old boys….

I came to office promising major ethics reform to end the culture of self-dealing. And today, that ethics reform is a law.

While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the governor’s office that I didn’t believe our citizens should have to pay for. That luxury jet was over-the-top.

I put it on eBay.

I love to drive myself to work. And I thought we could muddle through without the governor’s personal chef, although I got to admit that sometimes my kids sure miss her.

I came to office promising to control spending, by request if possible, but by veto, if necessary.

Senator McCain also — he promises to use the power of veto in defense of the public interest. And as a chief executive, I can assure you it works.

Our state budget is under control. We have a surplus. And I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending, nearly $500 million in vetoes.

We suspended the state fuel tax and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks,” on that Bridge to Nowhere.

If our state wanted to build a bridge, we were going to build it ourselves.

When oil and gas prices went up dramatically and filled up the state treasury, I sent a large share of that revenue back where it belonged: directly to the people of Alaska.

And despite fierce opposition from oil company lobbyists, who kind of liked things the way that they were, we broke their monopoly on power and resources. As governor, I insisted on competition and basic fairness to end their control of our state and return it to the people.

I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history. And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.

That pipeline, when the last section is laid and its valves are open, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart….

To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of the world’s energy supplies, or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia, or that Venezuela might shut off its oil discoveries and its deliveries of that source, Americans, we need to produce more of our own oil and gas. And…

And take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: We’ve got lots of both.

Our opponents say again and again that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems, as if we didn’t know that already.

But the fact that drilling, though, won’t solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all.

Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines, and build more nuclear plants, and create jobs with clean coal, and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources. We need…

We need American sources of resources. We need American energy brought to you by American ingenuity and produced by American workers.

And now, I’ve noticed a pattern with our opponent, and maybe you have, too. We’ve all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers, and there is much to like and admire about our opponent.

But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or even a reform, not even in the State Senate.

This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word “victory,” except when he’s talking about his own campaign.

But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed, when the roar of the crowd fades away, when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot…

… when that happens, what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet?

The answer — the answer is to make government bigger, and take more of your money, and give you more orders from Washington, and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world.

America needs more energy; our opponent is against producing it. Victory in Iraq is finally in sight, and he wants to forfeit. Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay; he wants to meet them without preconditions.

Al Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights.

Government is too big; he wants to grow it. Congress spends too much money; he promises more. Taxes are too high, and he wants to raise them. His tax increases are the fine print in his economic plan.

And let me be specific: The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, and raise payroll taxes, and raise investment income taxes, and raise the death tax, and raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars.

My sister, Heather, and her husband, they just built a service station that’s now open for business, like millions of others who run small businesses. How are they…

How are they going to be better off if taxes go up? Or maybe you are trying to keep your job at a plant in Michigan or in Ohio…

… or you’re trying — you’re trying to create jobs from clean coal, from Pennsylvania or West Virginia.

You’re trying to keep a small farm in the family right here in Minnesota.

How are you — how are you going to be better off if our opponent adds a massive tax burden to the American economy?

Here’s how I look at the choice Americans face in this election: In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.

They are the ones whose names appear on laws and landmark reforms, not just on buttons and banners or on self-designed presidential seals.

Among politicians, there is the idealism of high-flown speech- making, in which crowds are stirringly summoned to support great things, and then there is the idealism of those leaders, like John McCain, who actually do great things.

They’re the ones who are good for more than talk, the ones that we’ve always been able to count on to serve and to defend America….

Our nominee doesn’t run with the Washington herd. He’s a man who’s there to serve his country and not just his party, a leader who’s not looking for a fight, but sure isn’t afraid of one, either.

Harry Reid, the majority of the current do-nothing Senate…

… he not long ago summed up his feelings about our nominee. He said, quote, “I can’t stand John McCain.”

Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps no accolade we hear this week is better proof that we’ve chosen the right man.

Clearly, what the majority leader was driving at is that he can’t stand up to John McCain and that is only…

… that’s only one more reason to take the maverick out of the Senate, put him in the White House.

My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery.

This world of threats and dangers, it’s not just a community and it doesn’t just need an organizer. And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they’re always, quote, “fighting for you,” let us face the matter squarely: There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you.

There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you in places where winning means survival and defeat means death. And that man is John McCain.

You know, in our day, politicians have readily shared much lesser tales of adversity than the nightmare world, the nightmare world in which this man and others equally brave served and suffered for their country.

And it’s a long way from the fear, and pain, and squalor of a six-by-four cell in Hanoi to the Oval Office.

But if Senator McCain is elected president, that is the journey he will have made. It’s the journey of an upright and honorable man, the kind of fellow whose name you will find on war memorials in small towns across this great country, only he was among those who came home.

To the most powerful office on Earth, he would bring the compassion that comes from having once been powerless, the wisdom that comes even to the captives by the grace of God, the special confidence of those who have seen evil and have seen how evil is overcome. A fellow…

A fellow prisoner of war, a man named Tom Moe of Lancaster, Ohio…

… Tom Moe recalls looking through a pinhole in his cell door as Lieutenant Commander John McCain was led down the hallway by the guards, day after day.

And the story is told, when McCain shuffled back from torturous interrogations, he would turn towards Moe’s door, and he’d flash a grin and a thumbs up, as if to say, “We’re going to pull through this.”

My fellow Americans, that is the kind of man America needs to see us through the next four years.

For a season, a gifted speaker can inspire with his words. But for a lifetime, John McCain has inspired with his deeds.

If character is the measure in this election, and hope the theme, and change the goal we share, then I ask you to join our cause. Join our cause and help America elect a great man as the next president of the United States.

Thank you, and God bless America. Thank you.

Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

Rudy Giuliani Stirs Up the Crowd in St. Paul. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

Almost exactly one year ago today, during a presidential debate in Durham, New Hampshire, I said that, if I weren’t running for president, I’d be supporting John McCain.

Well, I’m not running for president, and I do support John McCain.

Every — every four years, we’re told that this presidential election is the most important in our lifetime. This year, with what’s at stake, 2008 is the most important election in our lifetime. And we’d better get it right.

This already has been the longest presidential campaign in history, and sometimes to me it felt even longer.

The American people realize this election represents a turning point. It’s the decision to follow one path or the other. We, the people, the citizens of the United States, get to decide our next president, not the left-wing media, not Hollywood celebrities, not anyone else but the people of America.

To those Americans who still feel torn in this election, I’d like to suggest one way to think about this to help make a choice in 2008.

Think about it this way. You’re hiring someone to do a job, an important job, a job that relates to the safety of yourself and your family. Imagine that you have two job applications in your hand with the name and the party affiliations blocked out.

They’re both good and patriotic men with very different life experiences that have led them to this moment of shared history. You’ve got to make this decision, and you’ve got to make it right. And you have to desire — you’ve got to decide, who am I going to hire?

On the one hand, you’ve got a man who’s dedicated his life to the service of the United States. He’s been tested time and again by crisis. He has passed every test.

Even his adversaries acknowledge — Democrats, Republicans, everyone acknowledges that John McCain is a true American hero.

GIULIANI: He — he loves America, as we all do, but he has sacrificed for it as few do….

He has proved his commitment with his blood. He came home a national hero. He had earned a life of peace and quiet, but he was called to public service again, running for Congress, and then the United States Senate, as a proud foot soldier in the Reagan revolution.

His principled independence never wavered. He stood up to special interests. He fought for fiscal discipline and ethics reform and a strong national defense.

That’s the one choice. That’s the one man.

On the other hand, you have a resume from a gifted man with an Ivy League education. He worked as a community organizer. What? He worked — I said — I said, OK, OK, maybe this is the first problem on the resume.

He worked as a community organizer. He immersed himself in Chicago machine politics.

Then he ran for — then he ran for the state legislature and he got elected. And nearly 130 times, he couldn’t make a decision. He couldn’t figure out whether to vote “yes” or “no.” It was too tough.

He voted — he voted “present.”

I didn’t know about this vote “present” when I was mayor of New York City. Sarah Palin didn’t have this vote “present” when she was mayor or governor. You don’t get “present.” It doesn’t work in an executive job. For president of the United States, it’s not good enough to be present.

You have to make a decision.

A few years later — a few years later, he ran for the U.S. Senate. He spent most of his time as a celebrity senator: no leadership, no legislation to really speak of.

His rise is remarkable in its own right. It’s the kind of thing that can happen only in America.

But he’s never — he’s never run a city. He’s never run a state. He’s never run a business. He’s never run a military unit. He’s never had to lead people in crisis.

He is the least experienced candidate for president of the United States in at least the last 100 years.

Not a personal attack, a statement of fact. Barack Obama has never led anything, nothing, nada.

Nada, nothing.

The choice — the choice in this election comes down to substance over style. John McCain has been tested; Barack Obama has not.

Tough times require strong leadership, and this is no time for on-the-job training.

We agree. We agree with Joe Biden…

… one time, one time, when he said that, until he flip-flopped and changed his position. And, yes, being president means being able to answer that call at 3:00 in the morning. And that’s the one time we agree with Hillary.

But I bet you never thought Hillary would get applause at this convention. She can be right. Well, no one can look at John McCain and say that he’s not ready to be commander-in-chief. He is. He’s ready.

And we can trust him to deal with anything, anything that nature throws our way, anything that terrorists do to us. This man has been tested over and over again, and we will be safe in his hands, and our children will be safe in his hands, and our country will be safe in the hands of John McCain. No doubt.

I learned as a trial lawyer a long time ago, if you don’t have the facts, you’ve got to change them. So our opponents want to re- frame the debate.

They would have you believe that this election is about change versus more of the same, but that’s really a false choice, because there’s good change and bad change.

Because change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.

John McCain — John McCain will bring about the change that will create jobs and prosperity. Let’s talk briefly about specifics….

And — and he’ll do it with an all-of-the-above approach, including nuclear power, and, yes, off-shore oil drilling.

Drill, baby, drill?

Drill, baby, drill.

GIULIANI: This — this — this is the kind of change — now, you guys are ready to break out. Whoa.

This — this — this and a lot more is the kind of change that will create growth, jobs, and prosperity, not what they want to do, tax us more, increase the size of government, increase tariffs, hurt jobs, send jobs elsewhere.

We need John McCain to save our economy and make sure it grows, but we need it for a more important purpose. There’s one purpose that John McCain understands, Republicans understand, that overrides everything else: John McCain will keep us on offense against terrorism at home and abroad.

For — for four days in Denver, the Democrats were afraid to use the words “Islamic terrorism.”

I imagine they believe it is politically incorrect to say it. I think they believe it will insult someone. Please tell me, who are they insulting if they say “Islamic terrorism”? They are insulting terrorists.

Of great concern to me, during those same four days in Denver, they rarely mentioned the attacks of September 11, 2001. They are in a state of denial about the biggest threat that faces this country. And if you deny it and you don’t deal with it, you can’t face it.

John McCain can face the enemy. He can win, and he can bring victory for this country….

The Democratic leader — the Democratic leader of the Senate said, and I quote, “This war is lost.”

Well, well, if America lost, who won, Al Qaida, bin Laden?

In the single biggest policy decision of this election, John McCain got it right, and Barack Obama got it wrong.

Senator McCain — Senator — Senator McCain was the candidate most associated with the surge, and it was unpopular. What do you think most other politicians would have done in a situation like this?

They would have acted in their self-interest, and they would have changed their position in order to win an election. How many times have we seen Barack Obama do this?

Obama — Obama promised to take public financing for his campaign, until he broke his promise.

Obama — Obama was against wiretapping before he voted for it.

When speaking to a pro-Israeli group, Obama favored an undivided Jerusalem, like I favor and like John McCain favored. Well, he favored an undivided Jerusalem — don’t get too excited — for one day, until he changed his mind.

Well, I’ll tell you, if I were Joe Biden, I’d want to get that V.P. thing in writing.

Our hero, our candidate, John McCain said, “I’d rather lose an election than a war.” Why? Because that’s John McCain.

When Russia rolled over Georgia, John McCain immediately established a very strong, informed position that let the world know how he’ll respond as president at exactly the right time. Remember his words? Remember what John McCain said? “We are all Georgians.”

Obama’s — talk about judgment. Let’s look at what Obama did. Obama’s first instinct was to create a moral equivalency, suggesting that both sides were equally responsible, the same moral equivalency that he’s displayed in discussing the Palestinian Authority and the state of Israel.

Later — later, after discussing this with his 300 foreign policy advisers, he changed his position, and he suggested the United Nations Security Council could find a solution.

Apparently, none of his 300 foreign policy security advisers told him that Russia has a veto power in the United Nations Security Council.

By the way, this was about three days later. So — so he changed his position again, and he put out a statement exactly like the statement of John McCain’s three days earlier.

I have some advice for Senator Obama: Next time, call John McCain.

He — he knows something about foreign — he knows something about foreign policy. Like Ronald Reagan, John McCain will enlarge our party, open it up to lots of new people.

In choosing Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain has chosen for the future.

The other guy looked back. John looked forward.

Governor Palin represents a new generation. She’s already one of the most successful governors in America and the most popular.

And she’s already had more executive experience than the entire Democratic ticket combined.

She’s been a mayor. I love that (ph).

I’m sorry — I’m sorry that Barack Obama feels that her hometown isn’t cosmopolitan enough.

I’m sorry, Barack, that it’s not flashy enough. Maybe they cling to religion there.

Well — well, the first day — as far as I’m concerned, the first day she was mayor, she had more experience as an executive than — than Obama and Biden combined….

She’s been one of the most active governors — she’s been one of the most active governors in the country, and Alaska can be proud of having one of the best governors in the country.

She’s got an 80 percent approval rating. You never get that in New York City, wow.

As U.S. attorney, a former U.S. attorney, I’m very impressed the way she took on corruption in Alaska, including corruption in the Republican Party. This is a woman who has no fear. This is a woman who stands up for what’s right.

She — she — she is shaking up Alaska in a way that hasn’t happened in maybe ever. And with John McCain, with his independent spirit, with his being a maverick, with him and Sarah Palin, can you imagine how they’re going to shake up Washington?

Whew, look out. Look out.

One final point. And how — how dare they question whether Sarah Palin has enough time to spend with her children and be vice president. How dare they do that.

When do they ever ask a man that question? When?

Well, we’re at our best when we are expanding freedom. We’re the party that has expanded freedom from the very beginning, from ending slavery to making certain that people have freedom here and abroad.

We’re the party that believes in giving workers the right to work. We’re the party that believes that parents — parents should choose where their children go to school.

And we’re the party — and we’re the party that unapologetically believes in America’s success, a shining city on a hill, a beacon of freedom that inspires the world. That’s what our party is dedicated to.

So, my fellow Americans, we get a chance to elect one of our great heroes and a great American. He will be an exceptional president. He will have with him an exceptional woman who has already proven that she can reform and that she can govern.

And now the job is up to us. Let’s get John McCain and Sarah Palin elected, and let’s shake up Washington and move this country forward.

God bless America. Thank you.

…You know, for decades now, the Washington sun has been rising in the east. You see, Washington has been looking to the eastern elites, to the editorial pages of the Times and the Post, and to the broadcasters from the — from the coast. Yes.

If America really wants to change, it’s time to look for the sun in the west, because it’s about to rise and shine from Arizona and Alaska.

Last week, the Democratic convention talked about change. But what do you think? Is Washington now, liberal or conservative? Let me ask you some questions.

Is a Supreme Court decision liberal or conservative that awards Guantanamo terrorists with constitutional rights? It’s liberal.

Is a government liberal or conservative that puts the interests of the teachers union ahead of the needs of our children? It’s liberal.

Is a Congress liberal or conservative that stops nuclear power plants and off-shore drilling, making us more and more dependent on Middle Eastern tyrants? It’s liberal.

Is government spending, putting aside inflation, liberal or conservative if it doubles since 1980? It’s liberal.

We need change all right: change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington.

We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington: Throw out the big-government liberals and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney says Sen. John McCain will rein in government spending. (CNN)

Former Gov. Mitt Romney says Sen. John McCain will rein in government spending. (CNN)

It’s the same prescription for a stronger economy. I spent 25 years in the private sector. I’ve done business in many foreign countries. I know why jobs come and why they go away. And I know that liberals don’t have a clue.

They think that we have the biggest and strongest economy in the world because of our government. They’re wrong. America is strong because of the ingenuity, and entrepreneurship, and hard work of the American people….

America — America cannot long lead the family of nations if we fail the family here at home….

Dependency is death to initiative, to risk-taking and opportunity. It’s time to stop the spread of government dependency and fight it like the poison it is.

You know, it’s time for the party of big ideas, not the party of Big Brother.

Our economy is under attack. China is acting like Adam Smith on steroids, buying oil from the world’s worst and selling nuclear technology. Russia and the oil states are siphoning more than $500 billion a year from us in what could become the greatest transfer of economic wealth in the history of the world.

This is no time for timid, liberal, empty gestures.

Our economy has slowed down this year, and a lot of people are hurting. What happened? Mortgage money was handed out like candy, and speculators bought homes for free. And when this mortgage mania finally broke, it slammed the economy. And stratospheric gas prices made things even worse.

Democrats want to use the slowdown as an excuse to do what their special interests are always begging for: higher taxes, bigger government, and less trade with other nations….

The right course is the one championed by Ronald Reagan 30 years ago and by John McCain and Sarah Palin today.

The right course is to rein in government spending, lower taxes, take a Weedwacker to excessive regulation and mandates, put a stop to tort windfalls, and to stand up to the Tyrannosaurus appetite of government unions.

The right course — the right course is to pursue every source of energy security, from new efficiencies to renewables, from coal to non-CO2 producing nuclear, and for the immediate drilling for more oil off our shores.

And I have — I have one more recommendation for energy conservation: Let’s keep Al Gore’s private jet on the ground.

Last week, last week, did you hear any Democrats talk about the threat from radical, violent jihad? No. You see, Republicans believe that there is good and evil in the world. Ronald Reagan called out the evil empire. George Bush labeled the terror-sponsor states exactly what they are: The axis of evil.

And at Saddleback, after Barack Obama dodged and ducked every direct question, John McCain hit the nail on the head: Radical, violent Islam is evil, and he will defeat it.

This party…

You’re hearing it here. You’re hearing it here, and they’re hearing it across the country. You see, in this party, in this room tonight, and all over America, people in our party prefer straight talk to politically correct talk.

Republicans, led by John McCain and Sarah Palin, will fight to preserve the values that have preserved the nation. We’ll strengthen our economy and keep us from being held hostage by Putin, Chavez, and Ahmadinejad.

And we will never allow America to retreat in the face of evil extremism.

Just like you, just like you, there’s never been a day when I was not proud to be an American.

We — we Americans inherited the greatest nation in the history of the Earth. It’s our burden and our privilege to preserve it, to renew its spirit so that its noble past is prologue to its glorious future.

To this we’re all dedicated. And I firmly believe, by the providence of the almighty, that we will succeed.

President McCain and Vice President Palin will keep America as it has always been: The hope of the Earth.

Thank you, and God bless America.

  • Gov. Mike Huckabe’s Speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention As much as I appreciate the opportunity to speak tonight, I really was originally hoping for the slot on Thursday called the acceptance speech. But I am delighted to speak on behalf of my 2nd choice for the Republican nomination for president, John McCain. John McCain is a man with the character and stubborn kind of integrity that I want in a president.But I want to begin by doing something a little unusual. I’d like to thank the elite media for doing something that, quite frankly, I wasn’t sure could be done, and that’s unifying the Republican Party and all of America in support of Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin.

    The reporting of the past few days have proven tackier than a costume change at a Madonna concert.

    I grew up at a time and in a place where the civil rights movement was fought. I witnessed first-hand the shameful evil of racism. I saw how ignorance and prejudice caused people to do the unthinkable to people of color not so many years ago.

    So, I say with sincerity that I have great respect for Sen. Obama’s historic achievement to become his party’s nominee — not because of his color, but with indifference to it. Party or politics aside, we celebrate this milestone because it elevates our country.

    But the presidency is not a symbolic job, and I don’t believe his preparation or his plans will lift America up.

    Obama was right when he said this election is not about him, it’s about you.

    When gasoline costs $4 a gallon, it makes it tough if you’re a single mom to get to work each day in the used car you drive. You want something to change.

    If you’re a flight attendant or baggage handler and you’re asked to take a pay cut to keep your job, you want something to change.

    If you’re a young couple losing your house, your credit rating, and your American dream, you want something to change.

    John McCain offers specific ideas to respond to this need for change. But let me say there are some things we never want to change — freedom, security, and the opportunity to prosper.

    Barack Obama’s excellent adventure to Europe took his campaign for change to hundreds of thousands of people who don’t even vote or pay taxes here.

    Let me hasten to say it’s not what he took there that concerns me. It’s what he brought back. Lots of ideas from Europe he’d like to see imported here.

    Centralized governments may care for you from cradle to grave, but they also control you. Most Americans don’t want more government, they want a lot less government.

    It was in fact the founder of our party Abraham Lincoln reminded us that a government that can do everything for us can also take everything from us.

    Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday.

    Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee talks to reporters at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday.

    I get a little tired of hearing how the Democrats care about the working guy as if all Republicans grew up with silk stockings and silver spoons. In my little hometown of Hope, Arkansas, the three sacred heroes were Jesus, Elvis, and FDR, not necessarily in that order.

    My own father held down two jobs, barely affording the little rented house I grew up in. My dad worked hard, lifted heavy things, and got his hands dirty. In fact, the only soap we had at my house was Lava.

    Heck, I was in college before I found out it wasn’t supposed to hurt to take a shower.

    Let me make something clear tonight: I’m not a Republican because I grew up rich, but because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life poor, waiting for the government to rescue me.

    John McCain doesn’t want the kind of change that allows the government to reach deeper into your paycheck and pick your doctor, your child’s school, or even the kind of car you drive or how much you inflate the tires.

    And he doesn’t want to change the definition of marriage. And unlike the Democratic ticket, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin believe that every human life has intrinsic worth and value from the moment of conception.

    And speaking of Gov. Palin, I am so tired of hearing about her lack of experience. I want to tell you folks something. She got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States.

    John McCain is by far the most prepared, experienced, and tested Presidential candidate. Thoroughly tested.

    When John McCain received his country’s call to service, he didn’t hesitate, and he didn’t choose the easy path….

    Most of us can lift our arms high in the air to signify that we want something. His arms can’t even lift to shoulder level, a constant reminder that his life is marked not by what he wants to receive, but by what he’s already given….

    Allow me to tell you about someone who understands this type of sacrifice better than anyone.

    On the first day of school in 2005, Martha Cothren, a teacher at Joe T. Robinson High School in Little Rock, was determined that her students would not take their education or their privilege as Americans for granted. With the principal’s permission, she removed all the desks from her classroom on that first day of school in 2005. The students entered the empty room and asked, “Mrs. Cothren, where are our desks?” “You get a desk when you tell me how you earn it,” she replied….

    By lunch, the buzz was all over campus — Mrs. Cothren had flipped out; wouldn’t let her students have a desk. Kids had used their cell phones and called their parents.

    By early afternoon, all four of the local network TV affiliates had camera crews at the school to report on the teacher who wouldn’t let her students have a desk unless they could tell her how they earned it. By the final period, no one had guessed correctly.

    As the students filed in, Martha Cothren said, “Well, I didn’t think you would figure it out, so I’ll have to tell you.”

    Martha opened the door of her classroom. In walked over 20 veterans, some wearing uniforms from years gone by, but each one carrying a school desk.

    As they carefully and quietly arranged the desks in neat rows, Martha said, “You don’t have to earn your desks ’cause these guys — they already did.”

    These brave veterans went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have.

    No one charged you for your desk. But it wasn’t really free. These guys bought it for you. And I hope you never forget it.”

    I wish we all would remember that being American is not just about the freedom we have. It’s about those who gave it to us.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, John McCain is one of those people who helped buy the freedom that we enjoy and the school desks we had.

    It’s my honor to do what I can to help him have a desk that he has earned one in the Oval Office.

The audience at the Republican National Convention. (CNN)

The audience at the Republican National Convention. (CNN)

On the Campaign Trail….

  • John McCain cites Palin’s energy, mayoral experience:“This is what Americans want. They don’t want somebody who has, who is, frankly, necessarily gone to Harvard or an Ivy League school. She probably hasn’t been to a Georgetown cocktail party. But you know what, she represents everything we want to see in government and America _ change and reform and ethics and taking on the special interests.”

    Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin together at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin together at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Republican National Convention Day 2: September 2, 2008

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN 2008 WATCH: REPUBLICAN CONVENTION COVERAGE

Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani on Tuesday in St. Paul. (NYT)

Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani on Tuesday in St. Paul. (NYT)

Day 2 ScheduleTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2008: Service

    The 2008 Republican National Convention today announced the program of events for Tuesday, Sept. 2. The program will feature speeches by U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson. Their remarks will reflect the convention’s overall theme, “Country First,” and the theme for Tuesday’s events, which is “service.”

    “We are excited to announce Tuesday’s featured speakers, who will share John McCain’s remarkable record of leadership and service with millions of Americans tonight. We are looking forward to showcasing John McCain’s life-long record of putting his country first,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Robert M. “Mike” Duncan.

    “From his days as a POW who refused early release to his 20-year career in the U.S. Senate, John McCain has always put country first. Tonight’s program will reflect his unmatched commitment to service and his vision for increasing Americans’ participation in service and volunteer activities,” said Rick Davis, McCain 2008 campaign manager.

    Among the other speakers announced today are President George W. Bush (via satellite), First Lady Laura Bush, U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio), U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.), and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.).
    GOP Convention 2008

Highlights:

  • September 2, 2008: Bush tells convention McCain is ready to lead, support of war shows his courage … McCain says Palin was thoroughly checked out before she was selected … With GOP struggling, Obama content to keep it local and low-key … Outside GOP convention, heavy police presence meets thousands protesting poverty, homelessness … McCain and Obama camps air new ads, alter playing field. – AP, 9-2-08
    Thompson, Lieberman to speak Tuesday night as GOP gets convention back on track … McCain’s veep vetter says Palin voluntarily disclosed teen’s pregnancy, husband’s past DUI … AP photographer, Democracy Now! TV and radio host arrested while covering anti-war protest … McCain has opposed spending on teen pregnancy prevention programs, sex education. – AP, 9-2-08

Stats & In the News…

  • 8 Years Later, Lieberman Extols McCain – NYT, 9-2-08
  • McCain Cancels Larry King Interview – NYT, 9-2-08
  • Exclusive photos show Sarah Palin has convinced John McCain – NY Daily News, 9-2-08
  • Lieberman gets convention spotlight, Bush a cameo – AP, 9-2-08
  • Bush praises McCain, Republicans defend Palin – AP, 9-2-08
  • Sarah Palin: Shooting Star? – WaPo, 9-2-08
  • Analysis: Palin choice scrambles left-right roles – AP, 9-2-08

Historians’ Comments

  • Historians Offer Insight on RNC’s Day Two: historians Michael Beschloss and Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph examine the strengths of the night’s speeches and the rally for the GOP party in St. Paul. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Well, it’s interesting. I think Judy’s right. This crowd goes out tonight feeling probably a lot better than they did even coming in this evening. I was struck by the extent to which this night was about John McCain’s personal story. And as we all know, it is a very powerful story. But it’s interesting. Here we are, two months before the campaign, and you have — before the election, and you have the feeling this is still a candidacy driven very much by biography. And I suspect what a lot of people are eager to hear over the next two nights is a lot more about what a McCain presidency would actually mean, whether it’s the economy, or health care, or a host of other issues. One other thing I would just add as an asterisk, knowing some Republicans and having been around Republicans, I don’t think you can overestimate the emotional surge in this hall that arises from the sense as a result of the Sarah Palin feeding frenzy that the “media,” quote, unquote, is out to get them. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Certainly. I think that tonight, it was an extraordinary night. I think Joe Lieberman’s speech quoting George Washington, who was against parties, at least partisanship, and calling for a bipartisan participation in this next election, Democrats, independents to vote for McCain, really building on what Richard said, based on biography rather than specific public policy proposals. And I think the controversy over the Palin choice is energizing their base. And they really feel they’re trying to rally around Palin in a way that — when we think of 1972, George McGovern didn’t, and when we think of 1988, George Bush, in fact, did. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: Maybe not a lot. And as a matter of fact, you know, you were talking a moment ago, Jim, about going after the media, which never hurts to do for a speaker at any convention, maybe particularly a Republican one. And, in 1964, probably the most powerful applause line at that convention, the Republicans in San Francisco, aside from the one given by — the speech given by Barry Goldwater, Dwight Eisenhower, of all people, who people thought of as rather mild-mannered, said, “Let us particularly scorn the sensation-seeking columnists because, my friends, I can assure you these are people who couldn’t care less about the good of our party.” And there was almost an animal roar. One lady started screaming, “Down with Walter Lippman!” It really brought down the house. The other thing you were saying, Jim, about, you know, reaching across the aisle. You know, Joe Lieberman’s speech tonight, I think it probably can be fairly said, if he had been nominated for vice president this week, we probably would have heard maybe three-quarters of the words that we heard tonight. That was probably large chunks of an acceptance speech that he never got to give. The reason he never got to give it, we are told, is that John McCain wanted to choose him, but his party said you can’t reach across the aisle, you can’t nominate a Democrat who has very differing views from many of us and from John McCain. And so there was a great irony that here he is saying, “Let’s all reach across the aisle,” to a group that essentially prevented John McCain from choosing a Democrat, Lieberman, as vice president. – PBS Newshour, 9-2-08
  • H.W. Brands on “McCain Walks Fine Line With Bush Legacy”: Dealing with the legacy of the previous president “is a perennial problem for candidates of the same party as the incumbent, especially when the incumbent has baggage.” said H.W. Brands, author of Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    A professor of history at the University of Texas, Brands — who was not in Minnesota — said that presidential candidate Al Gore tried to embrace Bill Clinton’s prosperity but not Clinton’s personal behavior. George H. W. Bush endorsed Reaganism, but distanced himself from the Iran-Contra affair. When Hubert Humphrey ran for president in 1968, he endorsed Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society but wavered on the Vietnam war. Calvin Coolidge echoed Warren G. Harding on the economy in 1924 but not on the Teapot Dome scandal. And Martin Van Buren wanted to be Andrew Jackson, without some of Jackson’s sharp edges.

    “Every candidate promises to be his own man,” Brands said, “but wants to be associated with such success as his predecessor achieved. Some strike the balance, others don’t.” – NPR, 9-2-08

  • Ted Frantz on “Assessing Gustav damage to RNC”: “You can make the argument that in some ways Gustav helped John McCain, given what he was trying to run on and stress. Leadership and experience,” said Ted Frantz.
    University of Indianapolis history professor Ted Frantz said even though the Republican Party didn’t get the media coverage it had wanted, Gustav didn’t keep John McCain out of the news. Rather it allowed the Senator an opportunity to react to a potential disaster on the national stage. “Hey this is what I would do as commander in chief, putting Americans first and party loyalty second,” said Frantz.
    But Frantz notes, of the two parties, the Democrats were the ones who needed more convention time. Not only did the party want to take time to reintroduce Senator Barack Obama to the nation, but party leaders had to deal with far more drama. In this case, giving the Clintons prime time coverage so they could show their support for Barack Obama and encourage their supporters to do the same.
    With John McCain a well known entity, viewers may not be as interested in the Republican National Convention.
    “I think generally they would tune in for McCain’s speech and to see Sarah Palin speak for the longest time, after that, probably most Americans wouldn’t have tuned in that heavily anyway,” said Frantz. – WISH-TV 8, 9-2-08
  • Melissa Harris-Lacewell on “Cindy and Michelle Defy First Lady Stereotypes Political Experts Say Either Woman Could Create Stronger White House Role”:

    “Americans are going to get a different first lady,” said Melissa Harris-Lacewell, associate professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University, and who is friends with Michelle Obama. “Whoever winds up there, it’s going to be a different approach.”…
    As a working mother, Obama’s central theme could be balancing home and work. “How do contemporary women fulfill their own series while also fulfilling their desire for family?” asked Harris-Lacewell. “How do they support their husbands without getting lost in their identities?” Harris-Lacewell also suggested that Michelle Obama may champion issues involving her children as they grow, such as gender equality and education.

    “Eight years ago, she had incredible dignity and was a fierce advocate of her own adopted daughter,” Harris-Lacewell said. “She is a woman of more substance than people imagine.” – ABC News, 9-2-08

  • Carl Sferrazza Anthony on “Cindy and Michelle Defy First Lady Stereotypes Political Experts Say Either Woman Could Create Stronger White House Role”: “The campaigns don’t necessarily want the wives to appear overly substantive,” said Carl Sferrazza Anthony, a historian for the National First Ladies Library in Canton, Ohio. “The campaign of 1992 stands out as a stark reminder of how a first lady can be demonized if there is the slightest suggestion she might use her intelligence and experience and offer advice to her husband.”…
    “Michelle gave [Barack Obama] a sense of grounding and purpose in Chicago,” said Anthony. “She gave him a sense of home.” – ABC News, 9-2-08
  • Catherine Algore on “Cindy and Michelle Defy First Lady Stereotypes Political Experts Say Either Woman Could Create Stronger White House Role”: “The twist is that Cindy McCain has more of an opportunity to make a more radical difference,” said Catherine Algore, visiting professor at Claremont McKenna College and author of “A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation.” “It’s the paradox of her being a Republican woman, with traditional appearance and presence of self. She can actually do more than someone looked at as a radical, liberal feminist and black woman,” Algore told ABCNews.com. “In some ways Michelle Obama is constrained by our own prejudices and expectations, whereas Cindy McCain can take that conservative, former beauty queen wife and mother and philanthropist and run with it,” she said. – ABC News, 9-2-08
  • Edward Berkowitz on “Cindy and Michelle Defy First Lady Stereotypes Political Experts Say Either Woman Could Create Stronger White House Role”: History demonstrates that the role of first lady is complex, according to Edward Berkowitz, professor of history and public policy at George Washington University. “There are contradictions built in to the family and political roles,” he told ABCNews.com. “How to reconcile between being active and not getting involved, giving the president the proper space, the proper environment for giving advice, but not definitive advice. The tensions are very hard to navigate.”…
    “Michelle Obama is a different animal than any other first lady ever,” said Berkowitz. “She is this sort of black, upwardly mobile, upper-class type. She is not that aristocratic, but very often the high-achieving black world has its own rules and decorum.”…
    “She’s like Nancy Reagan, in the sense that she and Ronnie had been divorced,” Berkowitz said. “Reagan made it a nonissue. She’s from that world.” And her wealth is “relatively new money,” Berkowitz said. “Having a beer distributorship, it’s not unlike the Kennedy father. It’s not like being a banker, not that respectability. It’s more working class.” – ABC News, 9-2-08
  • Joseph Crespino on “Obama and the New South”: She is a very compelling personality and has already injected a lot of enthusiasm and interest into McCain’s campaign. But Palin is a huge wild card. I thought that the one question that the Dems had not fully answered by the end of their convention was the experience issue, but obviously the McCain camp thought differently because they’ve taken that off the table. It’s hard to know what to make of the news about Palin’s daughter. Nobody really wants to touch it because it’s sad to have the private lives of family members injected into national politics, but how can you hear that new — not to mention the troopergate story — and not wonder who actually vetted this candidate….
    I don’t think any Republicans are remiss about George Bush being unable to speak in prime time Monday night — or the fact that Dick Cheney will not be at the convention. It looks now like Gustav will more or less blow through New Orleans with relatively little impact, and if the Republicans get three full days in, then I think they will be thrilled. – Emory Wheel, 9-1-08
  • Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph: Experts Mull Historical Context of GOP’s Convention Postponement: The Republican Committee decided to delay convention events on Monday due to Hurricane Gustav — a first in party convention history. Historians discuss the decision and its political significance in the context of past conventions. – PBS Newshour, 9-1-08 Download
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University:: In a word, no. I thought someone this week would be brief, you know. No, this is unprecedented. But, you know, Andy had a point when he was talking earlier. There are going to be some people who won’t say it in front of a camera, but who privately see this as not entirely a cause for despondency, because the fewer people out there who see the president and the vice president this evening, the better it may be for the people in here….

    Well, you know, first of all, to be fair, there’s a poll today that says 71 percent of these delegates approve of President Bush’s performance. That’s just that they’re not necessarily representative of the electorate at large. I’ll give an example. You can’t get much more radioactive than Richard Nixon following his resignation from office in 1974 in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Two years later, he continued to cast a long shadow over the Ford White House and the Ford campaign against Jimmy Carter. There was a press conference in October of ’76. A reporter stood up and said, “Mr. President,” to Gerald Ford, “twice in this press conference you’ve referred to ‘your predecessor.’ Once you’ve referred to ‘Lyndon Johnson’s successor.’ Are you deliberately trying to avoid saying Richard Nixon’s name?” Ford said, “Yes.” That said it all. Richard Nixon never did, in fact, appear at another Republican convention. And it made news four years ago when his name was actually uttered from the podium by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger….

    Well, I think it warms its fire — its hands by the fire ignited by Ronald Reagan. I mean, this is still very much Ronald Reagan’s party. It’s easier to imagine a post-Bush Republican Party than it is a post-Reagan Republican Party. And yet, if you look at the Tories in England, for example, granted, Mrs. Thatcher left office under different circumstances, but it took a long time for that party to find a new identity, clinging, presumably, to the values of Thatcherism, whatever that means, but adapting them to a different political and cultural climate. And that is one of the real challenges. And it’s interesting, because part of the Reagan coalition, the kind of populist, particularly the religious right, the right-to-life movement, they are ecstatic with the choice of Sarah Palin, because they see her as an unconventional conservative, a populist, anti-establishment conservative, very much, perhaps, the next generation of Reaganism. – PBS Newshour, 9-1-08 Download

  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: In August of 2000, President Bill Clinton proved to be an albatross on the candidate Vice President Al Gore. Clinton had record approval ratings and was really one of only two men in the postwar era to be elected to and serve two terms as president, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. But the Lewinsky scandal made Clinton personally toxic. He appeared once at the convention August 14th. And Al Gore only mentioned him one time in his speech. So for the rest of the campaign, what Al Gore attempted to do was actually embrace Clinton’s legacy, while really distancing himself from the president as a personal figure. And it proved to be a really tough act to follow, and eventually it proved to be his undoing….

    If the post-Lyndon Johnson Democratic Party has been wrestling with the perception that it’s a party of special interests, the post-Reagan Republican Party wrestles with the perception that it’s really the party of business or corporate interest. And what’s very interesting about that is that, over the last quarter of a century, what the Republican Party has attempted to do is really think of itself as a party of compassion, a party of an ownership society, and really a party of racial inclusiveness, to the extent that the perception of the party is that it’s a party that doesn’t really care about poor people, it’s not a party that cares about minorities, and, in fact, is a party that’s hostile to minorities. Ronald Reagan himself had a little something to do with that, when we think about public policy, and the perceptions of his reputation of affirmative action and also his initial resistance to sign the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday into law. By 1988, when his vice president, George Bush, is running, we’ve got the infamous Willie Horton ad, which really solidified for many a perception, at least, that the Republican Party really had a long way to go towards racial inclusiveness. By 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit, that perception almost became political reality and a huge albatross. So when we look at this convention, really postponing or at least truncating its schedule this past Monday, it goes a long way towards combating that perception that the Republican Party doesn’t care about racial minorities. – PBS Newshour, 9-1-08 Download

  • Phil VanderMeer on “Can John McCain break Mo’s Curse?”: “You can certainly say (McCain) is a maverick who spans Barry and Mo in interesting ways,” said Phil VanderMeer, associate professor of history at Arizona State University. “He puts together issues that don’t match traditional liberal and conservative (views). That’s a Western way. He has an ability to appeal to people outside pre-packaged ideologies.”… “All of them had an attitude toward the environment that I would consider Western,” VanderMeer said. The West, he said, “mattered to them differently.” – The Arizona Republic, 9-1-08
  • Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph: Convention Decision Highlights GOP’s Post-Katrina Sensitivity “By cancelling most of tomorrow’s program, this party sends a pretty powerful signal that in effect we have learned our lesson from three years ago … This is, ironically enough, the re-launch of compassionate conservatism, Richard Norton Smith said. – PBS Newshour, 8-31-08

The Speeches….

Damon Winter/The New York Times)

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman at the convention. (Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times)

We meet tonight in the wake of a terrible storm that has hit the Gulf Coast but that hurts all of us, because we are all members of our larger American family.

At times like this, we set aside all that divides us, and we come together to help our fellow citizens in need.

What matters is certainly not whether we are Democrats or Republicans, but that we are all Americans.

The truth is, it shouldn’t take a hurricane to bring us together like this….

Instead they see Democrats and Republicans fighting each other, rather than fighting for the American people.

Our founding fathers foresaw the danger of this kind of senseless partisanship. George Washington himself — in his Farewell Address to our country — warned that the “spirit of party” is “the worst enemy” of our democracy and “enfeebles” our government’s ability to do its job.

George Washington was absolutely right. The sad truth is — today we are living through his worst nightmare, in the capital city that bears his name.

And that brings me directly to why I am here tonight. What, after all, is a Democrat like me doing at a Republican convention like this?

The answer is simple.

I’m here to support John McCain because country matters more than party.

I’m here tonight because John McCain is the best choice to bring our country together and lead our country forward.

I’m here because John McCain’s whole life testifies to a great truth: being a Democrat or a Republican is important.

But it is not more important than being an American.

Both presidential candidates this year talk about changing the culture of Washington, about breaking through the partisan gridlock and special interests that are poisoning our politics.

But only one of them has actually done it.

Only one leader has shown the courage and the capability to rise above the smallness of our politics to get big things done for our country and our people.

And that leader is John McCain!

John understands that it shouldn’t take a natural disaster like Hurricane Gustav to get us to take off our partisan blinders and work together to get things done.

It shouldn’t take a natural disaster to teach us that the American people don’t care much if you have an “R” or a “D” after your name.

What they care about is, are we solving the problems they are up against every day?

What you can expect from John McCain as President is precisely what he has done this week: which is to put country first. That is the code by which he has lived his entire life, and that is the code he will carry with him into the White House.

I have personally seen John, over and over again, bring people together from both parties to tackle our toughest problems we face –to reform our campaign finance, lobbying and ethics laws, to create the 9/11 Commission and pass its critical national security reforms, and to end the partisan paralysis over judicial confirmations.

My Democratic friends know all about John’s record of independence and accomplishment.

Maybe that’s why some of them are spending so much time and so much money trying to convince voters that John McCain is someone else.

I’m here, as a Democrat myself, to tell you: Don’t be fooled.

God only made one John McCain, and he is his own man.

If John McCain was just another go-along partisan politician, he never would have taken on corrupt Republican lobbyists, or big corporations that were cheating the American people, or powerful colleagues in Congress who were wasting taxpayer money.

But he did!

If John McCain was just another go-along partisan politician, he never would have led the fight to fix our broken immigration system or to do something about global warming.

But he did!

As a matter of fact, if John McCain is just another partisan Republican, then I’m Michael Moore’s favorite Democrat.

And I’m not.

Senator Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man who can do great things for our country in the years ahead. But eloquence is no substitute for a record — not in these tough times.

In the Senate he has not reached across party lines to get anything significant done, nor has he been willing to take on powerful interest groups in the Democratic Party.

Contrast that to John McCain’s record, or the record of the last Democratic President, Bill Clinton, who stood up to some of those same Democratic interest groups and worked with Republicans to get important things done like welfare reform, free trade agreements, and a balanced budget.

Governor Sarah Palin, like John McCain, is a reformer who has taken on the special interests and reached across party lines. She is a leader we can count on to help John shake up Washington.

That’s why the McCain-Palin ticket is the real ticket for change this year.

The Washington bureaucrats and power brokers can’t build a pen strong enough to hold these two mavericks.

And together, you can count on John McCain and Sarah Palin to fight for America and to fight for you! And that’s what our country needs most right now.

What we need most is not more party unity in America but more national unity!…

When others were silent, John McCain had the judgment to sound the alarm about the mistakes we were making in Iraq. When others wanted to retreat in defeat from the field of battle, when Barack Obama was voting to cut off funding for our troops on the ground,

John McCain had the courage to stand against the tide of public opinion and support the surge, and because of that, today, our troops are at last beginning to come home, not in failure, but in honor!…

But you can always count on him to be straight with you about where he stands, and to stand for what he thinks is right regardless of politics.

As President, you can count on John McCain to be a restless reformer, who will clean up Washington and get our government working again for you!

So tonight, I ask you whether you are an Independent, a Reagan Democrat or a Clinton Democrat, or just a Democrat: This year, when you vote for President, vote for the person you believe is best for the country, not for the party you happen to belong to.

Vote for the leader who, since the age of 17, when he raised his hand and took an oath to defend and protect our Constitution, has always put our country first.

So, let’s come together to make a great American patriot our next great President!

…We know that we have challenges — always have, always will.

But we also know that we live in the freest, strongest, most generous and prosperous nation in the history of the world and we are thankful.

Speaking of the vice presidential nominee, what a breath of fresh air Gov. Sarah Palin is.

She is from a small town, with small town values, but that’s not good enough for those folks who are attacking her and her family.

Some Washington pundits and media big shots are in a frenzy over the selection of a woman who has actually governed rather than just talked a good game on the Sunday talk shows and hit the Washington cocktail circuit. Well, give me a tough Alaskan governor who has taken on the political establishment in the largest state in the union — and won — over the beltway business-as-usual crowd any day of the week.

Fred Thompson Speaking to Republican National Convention, Tuesday night. (CNN)

Fred Thompson Speaking to Republican National Convention, Tuesday night. (CNN)

Let’s be clear … the selection of Gov. Palin has the other side and their friends in the media in a state of panic. She is a courageous, successful, reformer, who is not afraid to take on the establishment.

Sound like anyone else we know?

She has run a municipality and she has run a state.

And I can say without fear of contradiction that she is the only nominee in the history of either party who knows how to properly field dress a moose … with the possible exception of Teddy Roosevelt.

She and John McCain are not going to care how much the alligators get irritated when they get to Washington, they’re going to drain that swamp.

But tonight, I’d like to talk to you about the remarkable story of John McCain.

It’s a story about character.

John McCain’s character has been tested like no other presidential candidate in the history of this nation.

He comes from a military family whose service to our country goes back to the Revolutionary War.

The tradition continues…..

…Also here tonight is John’s 96-year-old mother, Roberta. All I’ve got to say is that if Roberta McCain had been the McCain captured by the North Vietnamese, they would have surrendered.

Now, John’s father was a bit of a rebel, too.

In his first two semesters at the Naval Academy, he managed to earn 333 demerits.

Unfortunately, John later saw that as a record to be beaten.

A rebellious mother and a rebellious father – I guess you can see where this is going.

In high school and the Naval Academy, he earned a reputation as a troublemaker.

But as John points out, he wasn’t just a troublemaker. He was the leader of the troublemakers.

Although loaded with demerits like his father, John was principled even in rebellion.

He never violated the honor code.

However, in flight school in Pensacola, he did drive a Corvette and date a girl who worked in a bar as an exotic dancer under the name of Marie, the Flame of Florida.

And the reason I’m telling you these things, is that, apparently, this mixture of rebellion and honor helped John McCain survive the next chapter of his life:

John McCain was preparing to take off from the USS Forrestal for his sixth mission over Vietnam, when a missile from another plane accidentally fired and hit his plane.

The flight deck burst into a fireball of jet fuel.

John’s flight suit caught fire.

He was hit by shrapnel.

It was a scene of horrible human devastation.

Men sacrificed their lives to save others that day. One kid, who John couldn’t identify because he was burned beyond recognition, called out to John to ask if a certain pilot was OK.

John replied that, yes, he was.

The young sailor said, “Thank God”… and then he died.

These are the kind of men John McCain served with.

These are the men and women John McCain knows and understands and loves….

…Putting his “Country First.”

Three months later John McCain was a Prisoner of War.

On October 26, 1967, on his 23rd mission over North Vietnam, a surface-to-air missile slammed into John’s A-4 Skyhawk jet, blowing it out of the sky.

When John ejected, part of the plane hit him — breaking his right knee, his left arm, his right arm in three places.

An angry mob got to him.

A rifle butt broke his shoulder.

A bayonet pierced his ankle and his groin.

They took him to the Hanoi Hilton, where he lapsed in and out of consciousness for days. He was offered medical care for his injuries if he would give up military information in return.

John McCain said “No”….

We hear a lot of talk about hope.

John McCain knows about hope. That’s all he had to survive on. For propaganda purposes, his captors offered to let him go home.

John McCain refused.

He refused to leave ahead of men who’d been there longer.

He refused to abandon his conscience and his honor, even for his freedom.

He refused, even though his captors warned him, “It will be very bad for you.”

They were right.

It was.

The guards cracked ribs, broke teeth off at the gums. They cinched a rope around his arms and painfully drew his shoulders back.

Over four days, every two to three hours, the beatings resumed. During one especially fierce beating, he fell, again breaking his arm….

Whenever John was returned to his cell — walking if he could, dragged if he couldn’t — as he passed his fellow POWs, he would call out to them.

He’d smile … and give them a thumbs-up.

For five-and-a-half years this went on.

John McCain’s bones may have been broken but his spirit never was.

Now, being a POW certainly doesn’t qualify anyone to be president.

But it does reveal character.

This is the kind of character that civilizations from the beginning of history have sought in their leaders.

Strength.

Courage.

Humility.

Wisdom.

Duty.

Honor.

It’s pretty clear there are two questions we will never have to ask ourselves, “Who is this man?” and “Can we trust this man with the presidency?”….

…This man, John McCain is not intimidated by what the polls say or by what is politically safe or popular.

At a point when the war in Iraq was going badly and the public lost confidence, John stood up and called for more troops.

And now we are winning.

Ronald Reagan was John McCain’s hero.

And President Reagan admired John tremendously.

But when the president proposed putting U.S. troops in Beirut, John McCain, a freshman Congressman, stood up and cast a vote against his hero because he thought the deployment was a mistake.

My friends … that is character you can believe in….

…The Senate has always had more than its share of smooth talkers.

And big talkers.

It still has.

But while others were talking reform, John McCain led the effort to make reform happen — always pressing, always moving for what he believed was right and necessary to restore the people’s faith in their government.

Confronting when necessary, reaching across the aisle when possible, John personified why we came to Washington in the first place.

It didn’t always set too well with some of his colleagues.

Some of those fights were losing efforts.

Some were not.

But a man who never quits is never defeated.

Because John McCain stood up our country is better off.

The respect he is given around the world is not because of a teleprompter speech designed to appeal to American critics abroad, but because of decades of clearly demonstrated character and statesmanship….

Spending at home that threatens to bankrupt future generations. For decades an expanding government … increasingly wasteful and too often incompetent.

To deal with these challenges the Democrats present a history making nominee for president.

History making in that he is the most liberal, most inexperienced nominee to ever run for president. Apparently they believe that he would match up well with the history making, Democrat controlled Congress. History making because it’s the least accomplished and most unpopular Congress in our nation’s history.

Together, they would take on these urgent challenges with protectionism, higher taxes and an even bigger bureaucracy.

And a Supreme Court that could be lost to liberalism for a generation.

This is not reform.

And it’s certainly not change.

It is basically the same old stuff they’ve been peddling for years. America needs a president who understands the nature of the world we live in.

A president who feels no need to apologize for the United States of America.

We need a president who understands that you don’t make citizens prosperous by making Washington richer, and you don’t lift an economic downturn by imposing one of the largest tax increases in American history.

Now our opponents tell you not to worry about their tax increases.

They tell you they are not going to tax your family.

No, they’re just going to tax “businesses”! So unless you buy something from a “business”, like groceries or clothes or gasoline … or unless you get a paycheck from a big or a small “business”, don’t worry … it’s not going to affect you.

They say they are not going to take any water out of your side of the bucket, just the “other” side of the bucket! That’s their idea of tax reform.

My friends, we need a leader who stands on principle.

We need a president, and vice president, who will take the federal bureaucracy by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shaking.

And we need a president who doesn’t think that the protection of the unborn or a newly born baby is above his pay grade.

The man who will be that president is John McCain.

In the days ahead at this convention, you will hear much more about what John will do as president — what he will do on the economy, on energy, on health care, the environment… It is not my role tonight to explain that vision.

My role is to help remind you of the man behind the vision. Because tonight our country is calling to all of us to step up, stand up, and put “Country First” with John McCain.

Tonight we are being called upon to do what is right for our country.

Tonight we are being called upon to stand up for a strong military, a mature foreign policy, a free and growing economy and for the values that bind us together and keep our nation free.

Tonight, we are being called upon to step up and stand up with John just as he has stood up for our country.

Our country is calling.

John McCain cannot raise his arms above his shoulders.

He cannot salute the flag of the country for which he sacrificed so much. Tonight, as we begin this convention week, yes, we stand with him.

And we salute him.

We salute his character and his courage.

His spirit of independence, and his drive for reform.

His vision to bring security and peace in our time, and continued prosperity for America and all her citizens.

For our own good and our children’s, let us celebrate that vision, that belief, that faith so we can keep America the greatest country the world has ever seen.

God bless John McCain and God bless America.

…As you gather tonight in St. Paul, I want to share some thoughts about our nominee — a great American, and the next President of the United States, John McCain.

Before I do so, I want to say hello to two people in the hall with you tonight. I could have no finer examples of character, decency, and integrity than my mom and dad. And I love you a lot.

I know what it takes to be President. In these past eight years, I’ve sat at the Resolute desk and reviewed the daily intelligence briefings, the threat assessments, and reports from our commanders on the front lines. I’ve stood in the ruins of buildings knocked down by killers, and promised the survivors I would never let them down. I know the hard choices that fall solely to a President. John McCain’s life has prepared him to make those choices. He is ready to lead this nation.

Damon Winter/The New York Times)

President George W. Bush addressed the convention over a video link from the White House. (Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times)

From the day of his commissioning, John McCain was a respected naval officer who made decisions on which the lives of others depended. As an elected public servant, he earned the respect of colleagues in both parties as a man to follow when there’s a tough call to make.

John McCain’s life is a story of service above self. Forty years ago in an enemy prison camp, Lieutenant Commander McCain was offered release ahead of others who had been held longer. His wounds were so severe that anyone would have understood if he’d accepted. John refused. For that selfless decision, he suffered nearly five more years of beatings and isolation. When he was released, his arms had been broken — but not his honor.

Fellow citizens: If the Hanoi Hilton could not break John McCain’s resolve to do what is best for his country, you can be sure the angry left never will.

As the father of seven sons and daughters, John has the heart of a protector. He and his wonderful wife, Cindy, are adoptive parents. John is a leader who knows that human life is fragile, that human life is precious, that human life must be defended.

We’ve seen John McCain’s commitment to principle in our Nation’s Capital. John is a steadfast opponent of wasteful spending. As President, he will stand up to the high tax crowd in Congress, and make the tax relief permanent. He will invest in the energy technologies of tomorrow — and lift the ban on drilling for America’s offshore oil today.

John is an independent man who thinks for himself. He’s not afraid to tell you when he disagrees. Believe me, I know. No matter what the issue, this man is honest and speaks straight from the heart.

Last year, John McCain’s independence and character helped change history. The Democrats had taken control of Congress and were threatening to cut off funds for our troops. In the face of calls for retreat, I ordered a surge of forces into Iraq. Many in Congress said it had no chance of working. Yet one Senator above all had faith in our troops and the importance of their mission — and that was John McCain. Some told him that his early and consistent call for more troops would put his presidential campaign at risk. He told them he would rather lose an election than see his country lose a war. That is the kind of courage and vision we need in our next Commander- in-Chief.

My fellow citizens, we live in a dangerous world. And we need a President who understands the lessons of September the 11th, 2001: that to protect America, we must stay on the offense, stop attacks before they happen, and not wait to be hit again. The man we need is John McCain.

When he takes office next January, John will have an outstanding leader at his side. America will have a strong and principled Vice President in the Governor of the great state of Alaska, Sarah Palin.

In the time the Oval Office has been in my trust, I’ve kept near my desk reminders of America’s character — including a painting of a West Texas mountain lit by the morning sun. It reminds me that Americans have always lived on the sunrise side of the mountain. We’re a nation that looks to the new day with confidence and optimism. And I’m optimistic about our future, because I believe in the goodness and wisdom of the American people. I’m optimistic because I have faith in freedom’s power to lift up all of God’s children, and lead this world to a future of peace.

And I’m optimistic about something else: When the debates have ended, and all the ads have run, and it is time to vote, Americans will look closely at the judgment, the experience, and the policies of the candidates — and they will cast their ballots for the McCain-Palin ticket.

While I am not with you in the Twin Cities on this wonderful night for our party, with Laura Bush speaking, you have clearly traded up. I am so proud the American people have come to know her gracious presence, her determined spirit, and her loving heart. Laura has been a fantastic First Lady.

Thank you, Laura — and thanks to all of you in the hall tonight. God bless you, and God bless America.

On the Campaign Trail….

August 31, 2008: McCain Cancel’s the first day of the GOP Convention

Damon Winter/The New York Times)

A cameraman kept a monitor tuned to a radar image of Hurricane Gustav as workers continued to prepare before the start of the Republican National Convention at Xcel Energy Cener in St. Paul. (Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times)

The Day That Was….

  • August 31, 2008: McCain Cancels First Day of Republican National Convention – Wall Street Journal, 8-31-08
  • August 30, 2008: McCain, Palin spend first full day of campaigning in Pa.; GOP leaders keep wary eye on Gustav … As Gustav approaches Gulf Coast, Obama expresses hope that lessons leaned from Katrina … Magazine: Obama told Petraeus some US forces in Iraq should be shifted to Afghanistan fight – AP, 8-31-08

The Stats

  • August 31, 2008: CNN Poll: Obama 49, McCain 48 – CNN, 8-31-08
  • Mr. McCain enters this year’s convention with the enthusiastic support of nearly 9 in 10 delegates, according to a poll of Republican delegates by The New York Times and CBS News. Just 8 percent have reservations about him, the poll shows. – NYT, 8-31-08
  • Sarah Palin, Profile in the New York Times – NYT

In the News…

  • Republicans Drop Most Convention Action on Monday – NYT, 9-1-08
  • Gauging Gustav’s Political Impact – WaPo, 8-31-08
  • McCain orders convention curtailed for Gustav – AP, 8-31-08
  • McCain hopes to reclaim reformist mantel – AP, 8-29-08

Campaign Bloopers

  • Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Don Fowler apologizes for joking about hurricane: “The hurricane is going to hit New Orleans about the time they start. The timing is, at least it appears now, it will be there Monday. That just demonstrates God is on our side,” Fowler said, while laughing. Fowler also told Spratt that “everything’s cool.”…”This is a point of national concern. I think everybody of good will has great empathy and sympathy for people in New Orleans,” Fowler also said. “Most religious people are praying for people in New Orleans. There is no political connotation to this whatsoever. This was just poking fun at Jerry Falwell and the nonsensical thing he had said several years ago.” – CNN, 8-31-08

Historians’ Comments

  • Henry Robertson on “McCain’s VP choice surprises La. GOP leaders”: And associate history professor Henry Robertson at Louisiana College in Pineville says the history doesn’t end there, with both the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates snubbing political tradition by choosing their running mates from states with few electoral votes. Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, hails from a state with three electoral votes, the same as Palin’s Alaska. “On both counts, I think, it was kind of a surprise that they didn’t pick people to geographically balance or to have the kind of electoral count you would expect,” said Robertson, who also is the faculty adviser to the College Republicans, a student group at LC. Robertson did praise Palin’s selection, though, calling her “an excellent choice, a fresh new face” who will make the Republican ticket a strong contender. But as Republicans expressed glee with their completed ticket, they also expressed concern as Hurricane Gustav threatened to wreak havoc just as their convention kicks off. Robertson suggested that the party should consider delaying the convention should Gustav become a large national event. “I don’t think you want to have a convention when you have a major emergency in the United States,” Robertson said. “I do think it would be wise if they waited, or delayed certainly, the convention because the focus needs to be on what is going on, on the Gulf Coast.” – The Town Talk, LA, 8-30-08
  • John Fea on “GOP up for a big week Convention plans could stall when Gustav hits:: “This could be the split-screen convention,” said John Fea, a history professor at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., in a swing state where McCain hopes his choice of Palin could help him. – Detroit Free Press,
  • William Lass on “Party like it’s 1892 For the Republican Party, this week’s gathering in the Twin Cities is a return engagement — after 116 years.”: “The principal reason Minneapolis got the convention in 1892 was the fear that the Populists were going to win Minnesota and adjacent states and therefore deny the Republicans an election win,” said William Lass, retired history professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato. “The similarity between then and now is that the Upper Midwest could have the swing votes that would decide the election,” he said. – Star Tribune, 8-31-08

On the Campaign Trail….

    Republican Presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) with his wife, Cindy and his vice presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, accompanied by Jimmy and Jack McCain, visit the Mississippi Emergency Management Operations Command Center in Jackson, Mississippi August 31, 2008 (Washington Post)

    Republican Presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) with his wife, Cindy and his vice presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, accompanied by Jimmy and Jack McCain, visit the Mississippi Emergency Management Operations Command Center in Jackson, Mississippi August 31, 2008 (Washington Post)

  • John McCain’s Statement on Hurricane Gustav…So of course this is a time when we have to do away with our party politics and we have to act as Americans. We have to join with 3 million other Americans on behalf of our fellow citizens. It’s a time for actions. So we’re gonna suspend most of our activities tomorrow except for those absolutely necessary. Rick Davis, our campaign manager, will be coming on right after me to tell you about the details of it.But I know you agree with me, it’s time to open our hearts, our efforts, our wallets, our concern our care for those American citizens who are now under the shadow and the probability of the natural disaster.So I hope that all of us and I’m very, I know that all of us will not only keep in our thoughts and our prayers the people of the Gulf Coast but we will act, we will act together, we will provide the necessary relief, the necessary comfort, we will open our arms as Americans always have in time of challenge to those in our society who are less fortunate because of any circumstance but in this circumstance because of this hurricane.

    So ahead of time I wanna thank all of my fellow Republicans as we take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats and we say “America, we’re with you. America, we’re going to care for these people in their time of need” and we’re gonna display it in every possible way as Americans always have and Americans always will.

    I thank you. I can hardly wait to get up there and I hope and pray that we’ll be able to resume some of our normal operations as quickly as possible but some of that is, frankly, in the hands of God. So keep ’em in your prayers and also when you get a chance to thank these wonderful thousands and thousands of volunteers who have turned out in these efforts not only now but will in the future, God bless them and thank God, it makes me proud to be an American. Thank you. The time for action is now.

  • Senator Barack Obama on Hurricane Gustav:“We can activate an e-mail list of a couple million people who want to give back. I think we can get tons of volunteers to travel down there if it becomes necessary.”… “The thing that I always am concerned about in the middle of the storm is whether we are drawing resources away from folks on the ground,” Obama said. “Because the Secret Service and various security requirements, sometimes it pulls police and fire and other departments away from concentrating on the job.”
  • Rudy Giuliani speaking on “Face The Nation” with anchor Bob Schieffer on Gov. Palin: “You know why? She had to make decisions. All Senator Obama has had to do is talk. That’s all he does.”… Palin is “somebody of accomplishment” because “she’s vetoed legislation, she’s taken on corruption, and in her party, and won. She took on the oil companies and won. She administered a budget successfully.”.. Obama “is the least experienced candidate for president in the last 100 years.” “I mean, he’s never run a city, he’s never run a state, he’s never run a business, he’s never administered a payroll, he’s never led people in crisis,” Giuliani said…. “there’s no question” that McCain would put the focus of the Republican National Convention “on the South and on Louisiana and Mississippi” because of Hurricane Gustav. “Senator McCain has already indicated that it would be inappropriate to have celebrations, that things have to be scaled back,” Giuliani said.
  • Joe Lieberman speaking on “Face The Nation” with anchor Bob Schieffer on Gov. Palin: McCain’s decision to add Palin to the ticket “is a little bit like opening a door and letting some fresh Alaska air into Washington. “I think here he wanted to send the message, get somebody fresh, somebody really who represents the other America outside of Washington where people don’t care whether you have an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ after your name, they just want you to get something done to help them deal with the problems they have,” Lieberman said. “And Sarah Palin comes from that other America.”
  • Carly Fiorina, a senior McCain advisor, speaking on “Face The Nation” with anchor Bob Schieffer on Gov. Palin: Palin is “a person of great accomplishment” and suggested she excites women because she is “a woman trying to balance her work life and her family life, not to mention her incredible track record of reform and taking on, as she said, the good old boy network.”… Fiorina said Palin’s anti-abortion rights position would not keep former Hillary Clinton supporters from backing a McCain-Palin ticket. “I think, frankly, the Democratic Party has done a disservice to women by trying to hold women hostage to the issue of Roe v. Wade,” she said. “The truth is the most important issue to women, all the polls say this, is the economy. Women are not single issue voters. Yes, there are some women for whom the issue of
    reproductive rights trumps everything else. But the truth is most women are not that way.”
  • John McCain talks Palin on Fox News Sunday: She’s a — she’s a partner and a soul-mate. She — she’s a reformer. I don’t particularly enjoy the label “maverick,” but when somebody takes on the old bulls in her own party, runs against an incumbent governor of her own party, stands up against the oil and gas interests — I mean, they really are so vital to the economy of her — of the state of Alaska. I mean, it’s remarkable. It’s a remarkable person.
    And I’ve watched her record, and I’ve watched her for many, many years as she — as she implemented ethics and lobbying reforms. And I mean, she led. She didn’t just vote for it. She led it. I’ve seen her take on her own party.
    Look, one thing I know is that when you take on your own party in Washington, you pay a price for it. You do. You pay a price for it. And she’s taken on the party in her own state. She takes on — she took on a sitting governor and defeat him — defeated him.
    And so I’ve — I’m so pleased and proud, because this — this is a person who will help me reform Washington and change the way they do business. And that’s what Americans want….
  • Barack Obama Explains His Choice, Reacts To Palin:Tells 60 Minutes Biden “Can Step In And Become President,” Calls McCain’s VP Pick An “Up-And-Coming Public Servant”
  • Sens. Obama and Biden issued a more carefully considered response: “We send our congratulations to Gov. Sarah Palin and her family on her designation as the Republican nominee for vice president. It is yet another encouraging sign that old barriers are falling in our politics. While we obviously have differences over how best to lead this country forward, Gov. Palin is an admirable person and will add a compelling new voice to this campaign.
  • John McCain’s Response to the Obama Campaign’s attack on Gov. Palin
    She first ran for office back in 1992. I don’t know what Senator Obama was doing then, but the first time she ran was 1992. That’s 16 years. I think that’s a pretty, pretty event-filled and record- filled resume.
  • Bill Burton, Obama Campaign Spokesman “Obama Response to Palin” Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush’s failed economic policies — that’s not the change we need, it’s just more of the same.

Campaign 2008 Highlights: August 27, 2008

The day that was….

  • August 27, 2008: Obama and Biden plan post-convention bus tour of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan … GOP ‘war room’ revs up as high-profile figures hit airwaves to slam Obama … Democrats plan heavy presence at GOP convention, will greet delegates with Bush billboard – AP, 8-27-08
  • Senator Barack Obama arriving at the Denver International Airport on Wednesday.

    Senator Barack Obama arriving at the Denver International Airport on Wednesday.

  • August 26, 2008: Democrats bicker over how hard to hit McCain as Clintons take center stage next 2 days … Using Clinton’s words against Obama, McCain returns to that ominous 3 a.m. phone call … Obama sounds economic themes on way to Denver … Republicans debate platform shaped by conservative base, McCain … Former president warns of global warming, trying to float above convention fray…. Biden offers mea culpa for past mistakes … McCain tells veterans he welcomes debate over Iraq. AP, 8-26-08
    Democrats rip into McCain at national convention; Clinton salutes Obama … Using Clinton’s words against Obama, McCain returns to that ominous 3 a.m. phone call … Former president’s odd moment in Denver: in the spotlight but on the sidelines … In crafting a platform, GOP takes a hard line on abortion, moderate stand on climate change … Biden offers mea culpa for past mistakes … McCain tells veterans he welcomes debate over Iraq – AP, 8-26-08

The Stats

  • August 27, 2008: Exclusive Poll: Obama’s Swing Leads An exclusive TIME/CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll reveals that Barack Obama leads John McCain by several percentage points in three crucial battleground states—Nevada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania—while McCain tops Obama by 1% in Colorado. – Time, 8-27-08
  • August 27, 2008: Obama had received 1549.5 votes to Clinton’s 341.5 when Clinton called for the roll call to be suspended. – Detroit Free Press, 8-27-08
  • FactCheck: Claims omit details on McCain record – AP, 8-26-08
  • August 26, 2008: A new Gallup Polls shows John McCain besting Barack Obama by a 46% to 44% margin — the first time McCain has led since June. Christian Science Monitor, 8-26-08

Candidate Bloopers

  • Freudian Slip: Mr. Biden’s Freudian slip gets a big laugh — when he says “George” when he means “John.” That’s the subtext of his speech, which hasn’t come yet — that Mr. McCain is Mr. Bush. – NYT, The Caucus Blog, 8-27-08

Historians’ Comments

  • Richard Fulton on “Obama names V.P.; McCain’s still mystery”: History, Humanities, Philosophy and Political Science Professor Richard Fulton said Biden’s experience will add to Obama’s campaign. “He’s (Biden) got experience, he’s very down to Earth, he complements Obama, I think quite well with maturity and experience, especially in foreign affairs,” Fulton said. He also noticed Biden seems to be popular with Democrats and Independents in his home state, Delaware. “I think from the very beginning, once he clinched the nomination, he was what I thought would be the better choice for vice president,” Fulton said. – NW Missouri News, 8-28-08
  • Allan Lichtman, Professor of History at American University on “Can Biden rebuild broken Democratic bridges?”: “On the minus side, Biden has bombed out twice as a presidential candidate. The first time he ran there were accusations of plagiarism. He can be gaffe prone. But he does bring what Obama needs on this ticket; experience, gravitas and tremendous knowledge in the area of foreign policy….. Joe and I have been friends for many, many, years and we know each other very well, and so I think he’s made a very wise selection.” – EuroNews, 8-27-08
  • Julian Zelizer: Barack Obama Does Not Have to Be Another Jimmy Carter – Huffington Post, 8-27-08
  • Michael Beschloss, Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) at breakfast discussion hosted by Politico, The Denver Post and Yahoo News: Beschloss agreed with Emanuel that race often played a role in presidential elections, “sometimes in subtler ways.”…. Answering a question about the most important qualities a president should possess, Beschloss mentioned the ability to “get things through Congress,” noting that Obama’s short experience in Washington could make that a challenge. But he added, gesturing toward Daschle, “That’s a talent that a president can hire.”… Beschloss added that a president should be willing to dump any advisers who end up being less helpful — or more troublesome — than expected. “Sometimes you will appoint someone,” Beschloss said, “and sometimes it is not working, and you have to cut the friend adrift. It is excruciatingly painful.”… And Beschloss, the historian, suggested the migration from Daschle’s staff to Obama’s was an early sign of the Illinois senator’s national political potential. – Politico, 8-27-08
  • Robert Dallek on “Biden to recast foreign policy from centre stage”: But Robert Dallek, professor of history at Boston University and the pre-eminent scholar on US presidents said yesterday that while vice-presidents never used to be important, “all changed in 1960 when Kennedy chose Lyndon Johnson as his running mate”. The subsequent trend culminated in Dick Cheney’s accumulation of immense power under George Bush. Dallek thought that the degree of power attained by Cheney “will make the next president cautious about giving the vice-president too much authority”. – Guardian, UK, 8-27-08
  • Fred Siegal: The Facebook Candidate Meets the Real World – Huffington Post, 8-26-08
  • Robert Rupp: Convention Highlights Its History – Wheeling Intelligencer, WV, 8-26-08
  • Richard Norton Smith on William Jennings Bryan: Father of the Modern Democratic Party: “It’s hard to think of a single speech that did more,” said presidential historian Richard Norton Smith. “On a personal level, it catapulted this unknown young congressman to the party’s nomination. On a broader level, it redefined the nature of what it meant to be a Democrat.” – PBS, 8-26-08
  • Peniel Joseph: Jackson Speech Sets Stage for Obama Run: Presidential historian Peniel Joseph explains how Jesse Jackson’s 1984 speech at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco introduced themes of diversity into the party and paved the way for the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama. – PBS, 8-25-08
  • Michael Beschloss; Richard Norton Smith, scholar in residence at George Mason University; and Peniel Joseph, professor of history and African-American studies at Brandeis University: “Historians Reflect on the Democratic Party’s Fractious Evolution” – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-26-08
  • Gil Troy on “Are We at War, Senator Obama? A gentle reminder for the Democrats: This is not a peacetime election for Al Qaeda.”: “When you think about Obama’s vulnerabilities, and his need to capture wavering Democrats and swing voters, questions about whether he is strong enough and patriotic enough are definitely on the table,” says Gil Troy, a historian at McGill University and a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a centrist Washington think tank. “The challenge is showing the American people on a deep, deep level that terrorism is a core issue, and you’re really passionate about this. Obama has to show, and the Democrats have to show, that they are passionately opposed to and disgusted by terrorism.” Troy, the author of a new book, Leading From the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents, argues that Obama should give a detailed speech “about all the things Bush did right in the war on terrorism. After I had explained where I agree with him, then I would talk about where I disagree.” – National Journal, 8-23-08

On the Campaign Trail….

    Ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, alongside other Republicans, says Obama is not qualified to be president. (CNN)

    Ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, alongside other Republicans, says Obama is not qualified to be president. (CNN)

  • GOP cheers Obama’s historic stride, but doubts his experience – CNN, 8-27-08
  • At 4:48 p.m. local time, Mrs. Clinton called on the Democratic National Convention to end the roll call and nominate him by acclamation: “With eyes firmly fixed on the future in the spirit of unity, with the goal of victory, with faith in our party and country, let’s declare together in one voice, right here and right now, that Barack Obama is our candidate and he will be our president. I move that Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention by acclamation as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.
    The crowd in the Pepsi Center roared as one and then began to chant, “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary.” – Download
  • Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles E. Schumer of the New York delegation on Wednesday.

    Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles E. Schumer of the New York delegation on Wednesday.

  • Hillary Clinton releasing her delegates: “I’m here today to release you as my delegates,” Clinton told a group of more than 1,000 supporters in a ballroom at the downtown convention center here, a few blocks from the Pepsi Center where she spoke to all the delegates on Tuesday. “I have spoken to many of you who have expressed your questions about what you should do,” she said. “Now many of you feel a responsibility to represent the voters in the states that you came from. And others of you after this long journey we’ve been on want the chance to vote for what’s in your heart. Now still others will be voting for Senator Obama, because they want to demonstrate their personal commitment to the unity of this party behind our nominee.” “I am not telling you what to do,” she said to loud applause, but added, “I signed my ballot this morning for Senator Obama.” “It is traditional that we have nominations, that we have a roll call,” Clinton said. “We’ve got win in November.”
  • Obama to Reporter about his acceptance speech as the Democratic Party’s nominee for President, 8-27-08: “I’m not aiming for a lot of high rhetoric. I am much more concerned with communicating how I intend to help middle-class families live their lives…. I have been working hard on it. Do I feel pressure? You know, 2004 was unique. Nobody knew who I was… I think people know that I can give the kind of speech that I gave four years ago. That’s not the question on voters’ minds. I think they’re much more interested in what am I going to do to help them in their lives. In that sense, I think this is going to be a more workmanlike speech.
  • Howard Wolfson: Clinton Ally Blasts MSNBC Pundits: “I’m not going to take any lectures on how to be a good Democrat from two people who have spent the last two years attacking Bill and Hillary Clinton,” Mr. Wolfson said, and then specifically named Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews. “I think it’s unfortunate that a news organization with a great tradition like NBC has been taken over by those kind of antics.”
  • Mitt Romney Speaking to Fox News, 8-26-08: You know, Neil, I got nothing for you on the V.P. front… I can only tell you that I have — I have confidence in — in John McCain. And his instincts — his instincts have been proven right time and again. I trust him to pick a good person to be on his ticket and somebody who views the country and the economy the way he does. And I think he’s going to strengthen his ticket with that pick…. You know, it’s been a little while since we have chatted. But, again, I’m not going to — I’m not going to open the door to this big secret that you’re talking about. I got nothing for you on that front… You know, I’m not a political strategist, even though I have run for office a couple of times, once successfully. You know, I think — I think John McCain is going to do what he thinks is best for — for his chances of getting his message across. I — I think there will be a bounce from the Democratic Convention. I thought it got off to a good start last night. I think Ted Kennedy did a fine thing of coming to the convention and speaking. He — he’s proven once again he’s a lion, and I respect him for that. But I think, in the final analysis, that, despite these bounces and all of the confetti and the — and the glitz associated with a convention, people are going to focus on the issues. And, on the issue of the economy they’re going to see that Barack Obama, who wants to raise taxes, cut back on trade, and prevent drilling for oil offshore and no new nuclear power plants, is simply wrong for the economy….. – Fox News, 8-26-08

Campaign 2008 Highlights: August 26, 2008

The day that was….

  • August 26, 2008: Democrats bicker over how hard to hit McCain as Clintons take center stage next 2 days … Using Clinton’s words against Obama, McCain returns to that ominous 3 a.m. phone call … Obama sounds economic themes on way to Denver … Republicans debate platform shaped by conservative base, McCain … Former president warns of global warming, trying to float above convention fray … Biden offers mea culpa for past mistakes … McCain tells veterans he welcomes debate over Iraq — AP, 8-26-08
Mitt Romney in Colorado Leads G.O.P. Attack on Obama-Biden on Tuesday

Mitt Romney in Colorado Leads G.O.P. Attack on Obama-Biden on Tuesday

  • August 25, 2008: Hillary Rodham Clinton implores supporters to back the man who defeated her … In convention’s first major speech, Michelle Obama tries to connect with families … Voice firm, ailing Kennedy tells Democratic convention ‘the dream lives on’. – AP, 8-26-08 Ailing Ted Kennedy to be at convention’s opening, may speak … Obama ad ties McCain to Bush … Obama’s life story, tribute to Sen. Kennedy top convention’s opening night … Biden stops to wish Amtrak “family” well before leaving for Denver … Obama’s choice of Biden as running mate raises stakes for McCain’s vice presidential pick — AP, 8-25-08

The Stats

  • FactCheck: Claims omit details on McCain record – AP, 8-26-08
  • August 26, 2008: A new Gallup Polls shows John McCain besting Barack Obama by a 46% to 44% margin — the first time McCain has led since June. Christian Science Monitor, 8-26-08

Historians’ Comments

  • Robert Dallek on “Biden to recast foreign policy from centre stage”: But Robert Dallek, professor of history at Boston University and the pre-eminent scholar on US presidents said yesterday that while vice-presidents never used to be important, “all changed in 1960 when Kennedy chose Lyndon Johnson as his running mate”. The subsequent trend culminated in Dick Cheney’s accumulation of immense power under George Bush. Dallek thought that the degree of power attained by Cheney “will make the next president cautious about giving the vice-president too much authority”. Guardian, UK, 8-27-08
  • Robert Rupp: Convention Highlights Its History – Wheeling Intelligencer, WV, 8-26-08
  • Richard Norton Smith on William Jennings Bryan: Father of the Modern Democratic Party: “It’s hard to think of a single speech that did more,” said presidential historian Richard Norton Smith. “On a personal level, it catapulted this unknown young congressman to the party’s nomination. On a broader level, it redefined the nature of what it meant to be a Democrat.” – PBS, 8-26-08
  • Peniel Joseph: Jackson Speech Sets Stage for Obama Run: Presidential historian Peniel Joseph explains how Jesse Jackson’s 1984 speech at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco introduced themes of diversity into the party and paved the way for the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama. – PBS, 8-25-08
  • Michael Beschloss; Richard Norton Smith, scholar in residence at George Mason University; and Peniel Joseph, professor of history and African-American studies at Brandeis University: “Historians Reflect on the Democratic Party’s Fractious Evolution” – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-26-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University: Well, it’s almost as if — imagine the two parties swapping identities. First of all, this is the oldest political party in the world. It was for 100 years the party of Jefferson and Jackson, the party that said the best government is the least government. That began to change dramatically with William Jennings Bryan 100 years ago, here in Denver, who brought the populist strain, who became a champion of the dispossessed. And then, of course, Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s and 1940s, transforming the role of government in the economy, and critically bringing African-Americans into this party after being part of the party of Lincoln… Well, no, absolutely. And, I mean, the last 40 years, frankly, since Richard Nixon’s election in 1968, broadly speaking, have been a period, a conservative period in American politics. We’ve had two Democratic presidents, both southerners, relatively speaking conservatives. This has also been a party torn apart more than once regarding American foreign policy. You know, there’s the Woodrow Wilson messianic quality — America, in effect, preaching to the world — and then, of course, Vietnam, which tore this party apart, brought us George McGovern and a host of reforms, which, in many ways, lead to the diversity that we see in this hall tonight…. Well, that’s fascinating, because this party looks much more diverse than it might have 40 years ago…. Ideologically, I think you could make a very strong case that it’s far less. And by the same token, the same thing applies to the Republican Party. For years there were people in this country who said, “We need a liberal party and a conservative party.” Well, guess what? You’ve got it. And it has led to all sorts of unintended consequences. So I think there is a much less degree of ideological diversity in this hall, which, as Michael says, leds to sort of head-scratching about the intensity of the Clinton-Obama fight. – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian: He was…because Roosevelt was liberal in all sorts of ways, but he sure wasn’t on civil rights. Roosevelt would not even support an anti-lynching bill; 1936, when Roosevelt was re-nominated, there was an African-American preacher who gave a prayer at the convention. Southern senators walked out. They thought this was outrageous that you would have an African-American on the podium. That all changed with John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, civil rights and voting rights, mainly Johnson. In 1965, Johnson passed the Voting Rights Act. He hoped that African-Americans would come into the mainstream in a big way. On that floor, 24 percent of the delegates are African-American…. And that’s the irony, because there should be no conflict here this week. You know, they’re not arguing over big issues. They agree on economics, Iraq, foreign affairs, all sorts of stuff. Yet we’re hearing about this roll call vote, and angry delegates, and factions, and all sorts of stuff. That’s so amazing that this long conflict between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has ended this way…. The people who voted for Hillary Clinton this spring are very different for the most part from the people who voted for Barack Obama. So the great irony is that, while ideologically Democrats think pretty much the same, those voters are in different enough groups that it’s a hard time getting them together. That’s what’s sad about that. – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08
  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University: Absolutely. Lyndon Johnson transforms the Democratic Party, especially in terms of racial diversity. 1964, at that Atlantic City convention, Fanny Lou Hamer and the African-Americans who came to represent the true interracial Mississippi, were actually disallowed from being seated. By 1984, Jesse Jackson delivers his very famous rainbow address, telling the party that diversity is actually its strength rather than a weakness…. Democracy is messy. So when we think back to 1948, when Truman supports a civil rights plank, the Southern Dixiecrats actually leave, and Strom Thurmond has a third-party run. 1968, the whole world is watching, according to the new left, and Mayor Daley actually calls in troops to basically harass and assault new left demonstrators. 1980, the very fractious convention between Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy. But, again, by 1984 and ‘88, you have Jesse Jackson, who was the consummate outsider finally on the inside of the Democratic Party, and he’s actually invoking people like Fanny Lou Hamer and different civil rights activists…. Well, the liberal wing of the party reaches its heyday in the early ’70s, with people like George McGovern and people like Walter Mondale. So that liberal wing has really been — I don’t want to say beaten into submission, but certainly they’ve seen better days. In a way, Obama has written himself that people see him as a Rorschach, and they read whatever they want into him. So people who are liberals see Obama as a liberal in the party. Conservatives in the party actually say, “Obama’s on my side.” People who are moderates or centrists actually say, “Obama’s my guy.” So Obama actually has united, I think, a three-part party. It’s a tri-headed party of liberals, centrists, and conservatives who see in Obama a person who they can all appropriate. – PBS, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, 8-25-08
  • Sean Wilentz on “Obama Hope of Audacity Means Race Isn’t About Losing Liberals”: Obama has shown an “enormous ability to arouse the intense admiration and affection of his base,” says Sean Wilentz, a history professor at Princeton University. “Exactly what he means by change, hope and transformation — all the sort of big-payoff words that appear in his speeches — he has yet to clearly define.” – Bloomberg, 8-25-08
  • Fred Siegel on “Obama’s ideological elusiveness”: Some critics voice skepticism. They see an ambitious fellow who remains intentionally undefined. “His philosophy is ambition,” said Fred Siegel, a historian at the Cooper Union in New York. “I see him as having a rhetoric rather than a philosophy.” Senator, what is your view of the Supreme Court decision barring the execution of child rapists? The question was standard fare for a politician who has questioned the equity of the death penalty. But Obama’s answer set reporters to typing furiously. “I have said repeatedly that I think that the death penalty should be applied in very narrow circumstances for the most egregious of crimes,” he said. “I think the rape of a small child, 6 or 8 years old, is a heinous crime.” – International Herald Tribune, 8-25-08

On the Campaign Trail….

  • McCain campaign regional communications director Tom Kise on “Angry Clinton supporters toast McCain, roast Obama”, August 25, 2008: Four years ago, if you said we’d be at a Hillary happy hour at the DNC, I would have called you crazy. But today is a great opportunity for people who … agree that Sen. Barack Obama doesn’t have the experience to be president of the United States. – CNN
  • Rudy Giuliani speaking with CNN

    Rudy Giuliani speaking with CNN

    Rudolph Giuliani discusses Obama-Biden ticket, CNN, 8-26-08: The normal political thing to do, in terms of the best decision to make to win, would’ve been to pick Hillary Clinton. It is a no-brainer. She got 18 million votes, Joe got 9,000 votes. She commands about 45, 48 percent of this convention. That’s what the choice for a president comes down to. It doesn’t come down to a choice between the abstract and the abstract; it comes down to a choice between two people. You can’t avoid that comparison. You’ve got one [candidate] with a lot of experience and one with virtually no experience.

  • Mitt Romney discusses Obama-Biden ticket, CNN, 8-26-08: He’s a charming guy, he’s a celebrity, but does he have the judgment and experience that comes from a life-long service in one sector or another? Joe Biden is an impenetrable thicket of words. I can’t imagine anybody who is ready to debate Joe Biden. I’m not sure when John McCain will make his vice president announcement or who it’ll be. I have confidence in his instincts. He’s proven time and time again that those instincts serve him well, and I think he’ll make a wise choice.

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